The “Spirit of Assisi”

09 APRIL 2015

The “Spirit of Assisi


The “Spirit of Assisi” refers to the inter-religious meeting of 160 leaders (of several Christian denominations, 8 other non-Christian major world religions, and African and North American animists) known as the “World Day of Prayer for Peace” led by Pope John Paul II which was conducted at Assisi in Italy, the home town of the great St. Francis on October 27, 1986. It was Pope John Paul II who coined the expression.

Under Pope John Paul II, there was a second “World Day of Prayer for Peace” meeting of around 200 religious leaders at Assisi on January 24, 2002.

A third occurred October 27, 2011
to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the 1986 event:

Pope John Paul II’s successor and former aide, Pope Benedict XVI, travelled to Assisi on Thursday, October 27, 2011 for an ecumenical discussion to commemorate the 1986 meeting, but there was no single interdenominational prayer service, reflecting the Pope Benedict XVI’s view that, while such gatherings are good, one cannot give the impression- even externally, interpreted by others- that theological differences have been reduced or are not consequential.



Is the “Spirit of Assisi” a ‘good’ thing or ‘bad’?

Pope Benedict XVI as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, did attend a day of prayer for peace at Assisi in 2011 but did not permit a common inter-religious prayer service. He was critical of the “Spirit of Assisi”. See page 22.

He did not go to the 1986 meeting but did take part in a repeat of it held on January 24, 2002, “agreeing ‘in extremis’ after being assured that the mistakes of the previous meeting would not be made again.”

One of the important happenings at the 2002 event was the public affirmation of the Sant’Egidio Community founded by Andrea Riccardi, one of the liberal “new movements” in the Catholic Church. Every year since 1986, the community has sponsored a major inter-faith gathering “in the spirit of Assisi.”

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of this historical day, the Community of Sant’Egidio organizes moments of commemoration and prayer in different places. 



India’s Cardinal Oswald Gracias is … close to the ubiquitous Community of Sant’Egidio. Source: March 10, 2013


Progressives, conservatives and different shades of Traditionalists
(the Catholic “left” and the Catholic “right”) all seem to have divergent and irreconcilable stands on the “Spirit of Assisi”.

The right believes that the “Spirit of Assisi” encourages syncretism and relativism. The left welcomes it.

American fundamentalist Protestant leader Dr. Carl McIntire called Assisi “the greatest single abomination in church history” while Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre of the Society of St. Pius X described it as “the supreme imposture, the culminating insult of Our Lord” and also “in my view, this is a diabolical act.” 

I am not going to indicate what I think about it (though I would love to!).

Instead, I am presenting herewith to the reader in chronological order a compilation of information from liberal, conservative and neutral sources as well as Traditionalist material so that one may become aware of how strongly some people feel about the “Spirit of Assisi” which term is often used pejoratively by many.

As you will see, Vaticanista Sandro Magister of www.chiesa is one Catholic journalist who has written a lot on the theme of this compilation — and he makes it quite clear what his opinion is of the “Spirit of Assisi”.



1986 declaration against Assisi – Made by Archbishop Lefebvre and Bishop de Castro Mayer

Subsequent to the events of Pope John Paul II’s visit to the Synagogue and the Congress of Religion at Assisi

Rome has asked us if we have the intention of proclaiming our rupture with the Vatican on the occasion of the Congress of Assisi.

We think that the question should rather be the following: Do you believe and do you have the intention of proclaiming that the Congress of Assisi consummates the rupture of the Roman authorities with the Catholic Church?

For this is the question which preoccupies those who still remain Catholic.

Indeed, it is clear that since the Second Vatican Council, the Pope and the Bishops are making more and more of a clear departure from their predecessors.

Everything that had been put into place by the Church in past centuries to defend the Faith, and everything that was done by the missionaries to spread it, even to the point of martyrdom, henceforth is considered to be a fault which the Church must confess and ask pardon for.

The attitude of the eleven popes who, from 1789 up until 1958, condemned the liberal Revolution in official documents, is considered as “a lack of understanding of the Christian spirit that inspired the Revolution.”

Hence the complete about-face of Rome, since the Second Vatican Council, which makes us repeat the words of Our Lord to those who came to arrest Him: “This is your hour and the power of darkness” (Luke XXII, 52-53).


Adopting the liberal religion of Protestantism and of the Revolution, the naturalistic principles of J.J. Rousseau, the atheistic liberties of the Declaration of the Rights of Man, the principle of human dignity no longer having any relation with truth and moral dignity, the Roman authorities turn their backs on their predecessors and break with the Catholic Church, and they put themselves at the service of the destroyers of Christianity and of the universal Kingdom of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

The present acts of John Paul II and the national episcopates illustrates, year by year, this radical change in the conception of the Faith, the Church, the priesthood, the world, and salvation by grace.

The high point of this rupture with the previous Magisterium of the Church took place at Assisi, after the visit to the synagogue. The public sin against the one, true God, against the Incarnate Word, and His Church, makes us shudder with horror. John Paul II encourages the false religions to pray to their false gods—an immeasurable, unprecedented scandal.

We might recall here our Declaration of November 21, 1974, which remains more relevant than ever.

For us, remaining indefectibly attached to the Catholic and Roman Church of all times, we are obliged to take note that this Modernist and liberal religion of modern and conciliar Rome is always distancing itself more and more from us, who profess the Catholic Faith of the eleven Popes who condemned this false religion.

The rupture does not come from us, but from Paul VI and John Paul II who break with their predecessors.

This denial of the whole past of the Church by these two Popes and the bishops who imitate them is an inconceivable impiety for those who remain Catholic in fidelity to twenty centuries of the same Faith.

Thus we consider as null everything inspired by this spirit of denial of the past: all the post-conciliar reforms, and all the acts of Rome accomplished in this impiety.

We count on the grace of God and the support of the Virgin Most Faithful, all the martyrs, all the Popes right up to the Council, and all the holy Founders and Foundresses of contemplative and missionary orders, to come to our aid in the renewal of the Church through an integral fidelity to Tradition.

Buenos Aires, December 2, 1986

His Excellency Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre

Archbishop-Bishop of Tulle

His Excellency Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer

Bishop Emeritus of Campos

In perfect agreement with the present Declaration


Assisi revisited

(Reprinted from) The Remnant, February 15, 1987 (on March 14, 2011) (Traditionalist)

Editor’s Note: We’re reproducing the following article from The Remnant (February 1987) as a means of calling to mind how traditional Catholics generally reacted to the first interreligious prayer meeting held at Assisi in 1986. So scandalous was that event that to this day it is often cited as the “straw that broke the camel’s back” with respect to the breakdown in discussions between the Vatican and Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who described it as “an immeasurable scandal that has no precedent”.  

With a 25th anniversary event having been scheduled by the Vatican to take place in Assisi in October 2011, we believe it necessary for Catholics to remember exactly what took place on that sad occasion, so that, if nothing else, they may more fervently pray that the anniversary celebration will not become a repeat performance of what many conservative Catholics to this day regard as a most disastrous chapter in the pontificate of the late Pope John Paul II.




Let us pray for the Church and pray for the Pope. Let us urge him to use the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the prayer meeting at Assisi to make amends, if he can, for the frightful scandal that occurred in that holy city, particularly the Buddha statue that was placed atop the sacred tabernacle of a Catholic church, and let him inform the world and reassure all Catholics that this was indeed an egregious blunder, one which will never be permitted again, whether under the shibboleth of “ecumenism” or of any other no doubt well-meaning attempt at inter-religious unity. MJM


The United Nations

On June 19, 1955, in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the United Nations, a U.N. Festival of All Faiths was held at the San Francisco Cow Palace.  This service was an amalgam of all religions, in which Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Baha’is, and all denominations of Christianity (except two) were represented. The two exceptions were the Lutherans and the Roman Catholics.  Yet on October 27, 1986, exactly the same sort of meeting was held in Assisi, Italy, and it was summoned by the Pope himself.  Moreover, the Pope went one better – he arranged for African animists, who worship the Great Thumb, to attend!  What happened in the Roman Catholic Church in these 31 years? Is it changing?  Or is it being changed?  If so, who is it being changed by?

When the Pope visited Canada in September, 1984, two “ecumenical meetings” were set up for him by the Rev. Brian Clough, Rector of Canada’s major English-language seminary, St. Augustine’s, Toronto.  Fr. Clough included most of the same churches and religions as the above – “Buddhists, native peoples, Hindus, Baha’is, Sikhs, Muslims and Zoroastrians”, wrote the Toronto Sun newspaper of July 12, 1984.  Rev. Brian Clough was hurriedly fired as Rector of St. Augustine’s because of his “soft” attitude to homosexuality at the seminary just before the Pope’s arrival, but his “ecumenical meetings” were allowed to stand.

At the meetings the Pope completely ignored the non-Christians present and treated the ecumenical service as if it were purely Christian, i.e., the traditional meaning assigned to “ecumenism”.  Even Canada’s most famous Rabbi, Dr. W. Gunther Plaut, had to admit, “That, of course, is a legitimate and accepted meaning of the word ‘ecumenical’,” (Globe & Mail, Sept 20, 1984).  For his action, the Pope was much criticized by the press – see, for example, the article in the Globe & Mail of Sept. 18, 1984, captioned NON-CHRISTIANS FELT LIKE OUTSIDERS AT RECEPTION, RABBI SAYS.  Later, the Pope was to be criticized by Canada’s senior active Cardinal, Cardinal  Carter, who said that “…with hindsight he wishes the inter-faith service at St. Paul’s Anglican Church had been better organized to allow greater representation by non-Christians – especially Jewish leaders.” (The Toronto Sunday Sun, Sept. 15, 1985).

Yet all the Pope had done – in 1984 – was to interpret “ecumenism” as Christian unity.  A few months previously, the World Council of Churches (WCC) had held its 6th General Assembly in Vancouver.  It defined “ecumenism” as “of the whole inhabited world” (from the Greek word “oikumenous”, meaning “the whole inhabited world.” Now, at Assisi, 1986, the Pope accepted the WCC interpretation of “ecumenism” which he had refused to accept in Canada in 1984!  Again we must ask:  Is the Roman Catholic Church changing? Or is it being changed, and if so, who is it being changed by?


The World Council of Churches

Will the Roman Catholic Church now join the WCC?  Bear in mind that the WCC (represented at Assisi) is heading towards syncretism at great speed. At its 5th General Assembly, Nairobi, Kenya, November 1975, representatives from non-Christian religions were invited and allowed to read short papers to the Assembly.  But in Vancouver, July-August 1984, non-Christian religions were invited not as mere observers, but as fully participating members!  Moreover, the WCC is now almost totally Communist.  Time magazine, August 21, 1983, under the caption “The Curious Politics of Ecumenism,” wrote:  “To the World Council of Churches, the Soviets are sinless.”  No original sin for Communists! Finally, the Vatican is still considering the WCC Lima Liturgy (BEM. B =Baptism, Eucharist, Ministry, manufactured at Lima, Peru, in January 1982 by 120 theologians, mainly Protestant, but including 12 Catholics also under the general leadership of Protestant Max Thurian of the “ecumenical monastery” in Taizé, France.  The Barque of Peter is indeed sailing on treacherous seas!



The chief organizer was Roger Cardinal Etchegaray, the President of the far-left Justice and Peace Commission, but he was aided by the United Nations World Conference on Religion and Peace (see later). 155 religious leaders participated from 12  major religions – Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, Hindus, Zoroastrians, African animists (including snake worshippers), from Togo, Sikhs, Shinto priests from Japan, Jains, two American Indians (one being the medicine man of the Crow Indians, Montana) and the Baha’is (who believe that Christ was just one of nine divine messengers and not the most important one).  The Christians included Robert Runcie, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Emilio Castro, the present Secretary General of the World Council of Churches, and Patriarchs of the Russian, Bulgarian and Czechoslovak Orthodox Churches, and the Greek Orthodox patriarch of Constantinople.  The Dalia Lama “God-King´” exiled from Tibet was also there.  Of him the N.Y Times of Oct. 28, 1986, wrote:

The day produced some extraordinary cultural encounters.  For example, the Buddhists, led by the Dalai Lama, quickly converted the altar of the Church of San Pietro by placing a small statue of the Buddha atop the tabernacle and setting prayer scrolls and incense burners around it.

The Buddhists then turned their backs on the Blessed Sacrament left in a side chapel.

While the meeting was held, ostensibly “to pray for peace”, why would God listen to prayers from those who profess other gods? 



Pope John Paul II may not have broken the First Commandment by worshipping strange gods himself, but he convened the Assisi meeting at which many others were present amid world-wide and almost totally favourable publicity from the media.  And some of the gods were indeed “strange” – “an immeasurable scandal that has no precedent” was how Archbishop Lefebvre put it.  St. Paul said, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness, and what communion hath light with darkness?  And what concord hath Christ with Belial?”


Vatican II Responsible

We quote from the Canadian Catholic Register,  January 10, 1987, quoting NC News Service, “The unity shown by world religious leaders who prayed for peace in Assisi, Italy, last October (1986) was “visible illustration” of the Second Vatican Council’s call for ecumenism and interreligious dialogue, Pope John Paul II said.”  This speech was laced with quotations from the documents of Vatican II, which he said showed how “such a great event sprang from the teaching of the council.”  Here we have the source of all this – Vatican II – and there can be no question of “misrepresentation” since the Pope himself has interpreted it.  Our Lord did not call for “ecumenism and interreligious dialogue.”  Our Lord said: “Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”


St. Paul Defines the Real War

The Assisi meeting was held “to pray for peace.”  While there are certainly many nasty wars, all Soviet-inspired, now raging in the world, e.g., Afghanistan, let us see how St. Paul himself defined why:  “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12)

Now with the best will in the world we have to admit that Muslims, Hindus, Zoroastrians, Baha’is, African animists, and these other religions do not accept that Christ is God.  Since Christ IS God, these religions – with the best will in the world – must be considered as anti-Christians and therefore anti-God.

How, then, would their prayers help in the real war, i.e., the war as defined by St. Paul, of which the wars on earth are merely the effect and not the cause? Jesus said, “How can Satan cast out Satan?” (Mark, 2:23)  Remember  “wars are a punishment for sin,” Our Lady said at Fatima. And who should be making us sin and thus causing the wars now plaguing our tormented and threatened world:  “The rulers of the darkness of this world.”  The Pope in his undoubtedly sincere desire for peace should rather listen to Our Divine Lord Himself, who said, “If I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.” (Matt. 12a: 28)


Syncretism Denied

“What will take place at Assisi will certainly not be religious syncretism,” said Pope John Paul II on October 22, 1986.  According to the Pope, the difference lay in the fact that they had not “come to pray together” but “to come together to pray.”  The well –known Religion Commentator for the powerful Toronto Star newspaper, Tom Harper, wrote after Assisi:  “There was too much fear that the various groups might be seen or thought of as actually praying together, thus suggesting they viewed each other as equals in truth.  This is why Pope John Paul II kept insisting they had not come to ‘pray together’ but had come together to pray. But who cares?” (Toronto Star, Nov. 9, 1986)  Yes, there’s the rub –      WHO CARES? Who will even notice these essentially ‘fine print’ reservations, in effect a question of mere semantics?  It would seem as if some malignant hand behind the Pope is determined to stampede Catholics into Syncretism, while technically not committing the Pope to it.

It could hardly be otherwise since Pope Paul VI condemned syncretism in his encyclical Evangelii Nuntiandi, Dec. 8, 1975.  BUT GOD IS NOT MOCKED.  The vast bulk of Catholics may now rush off into syncretism, or exotic religions such as the GREAT THUMB, the Baha’is, various Hindu cults, Zoroastrians, etc., or in disgust to Fundamentalism.  Remember, the well-known American Fundamentalist leader, Dr. Carl McIntyre called Assisi “the greatest single abomination in church history” – the same sentiments as expressed by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who called it “the supreme imposture, the culminating insult of Our Lord” and also “in my view, this is a diabolical act.” 


Syncretism Defined

“The astonishing variety of the invited group also raised suspicions among some Christians that Assisi represented a heretical step towards syncretism, the amalgamation of various conflicting religions.” (Time, Nov. 10, 1986), which explains why the Pope had previously said, “What will take place at Assisi will certainly not be religious syncretism”.  Let us here digress a moment to see what syncretism is.

The best definition, ironically enough, was given by the first Secretary General of the World Council of Churches (1948-1966).  Dr. W. A. Visser’t Hooft in his excellent book, NO OTHER NAME: The Choice between syncretism and Christian Universalism (The Westminster Press Philadelphia, 1963, and also by the SCM Press Ltd. London, in 1963.

On page 11 Dr. Hooft wrote:

The word syncretism should be reserved for another type of religious attitude, which deserves to have its own name because it is such an important, persistent and widespread religious phenomenon.  This is the view which holds that there is no unique revelation in history, that there are many different ways to reach the divine reality, that all formulations of religious truth or experience are by their very nature inadequate expressions of that truth and that it is necessary to harmonize as much as possible all religious ideas and experiences so as to create one universal religion for mankind.




On page 10, Dr. Hooft had written:

Many of the best among us are deeply anxious about the inability of the human family, now forced for better or worse to live in close contact, to find a common ethos, a common standard for human relations.  It is realized that such an ethos must be rooted in common convictions about the ultimate issues of life.  Does it not follow that we must somehow force the religious leaders to come to agreement and to develop one universal world-religion?  Is therefore syncretism in some form not inevitable?

It is precisely this plausible, rationally almost self-evident character of the syncretistic answer to the needs of the world that makes it a more dangerous challenge to the Christian Church than full-fledged atheism is ever likely to be.

Dr. Hooft’s book is now unfortunately out of print.  In the absence of a reprint (unlikely because Dr. Hooft died in December, 1985), the reader is referred to A Study in Syncretism (The Background and Apparatus of the Emerging One World Church) by the present writer and obtainable from the Canadian Intelligence Publications (Box 130, Flesherton, Ontario, NOC 1EO,) The United Nations has an official syncretic body called the World Conference On Religion and Peace (WCRP) and its office is Suite 777 (sic) at the United Nations Plaza.  (Some feel Suite 666 would be appropriate.)

It is unfortunate that the Pope in recent months, including at Assisi, called repeatedly for the closest possible collaboration with the United Nations, a godless and Masonic organization now fast coming under total Soviet control – a Marxist world government.  Assisi was in fact held to “mark the U.N. International Year of Peace”.  The WCRP has had four meetings so far:  at Kyoto, Japan, in 1970; at Louvain, Belgium in 1974; in Princeton, U.S.A. in 1979; and lastly at Nairobi, Kenya, in August, 1984, the current media darling, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a supposed Anglican, was elected as President of the WCRP.  The present Secretary General of the  WCRP is Dr. John B. Taylor, formerly Director of the World Council of Churches Sub-Unit for Dialogue with People of Living Faiths and Ideologies (the DFI)), who has said that “the world conference (on religion and Peace) has supported the Assisi meeting from the beginning and has been involved in the planning stages.”  (The Toronto Star, October, 18th, 1986).  Dr. Taylor was also quoted as saying, “The patronage of such people as the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury is going to encourage some of those who are perhaps a little bit hesitant or suspicious to get together at the local level”. (Star, October, 18th, 1986)  Exactly what we had feared.


The Pope’s Travels Encourage Syncretism

The basic principle behind syncretism is that all religions are of equal validity.  While the Pope does not actually say this, his praise and uncritical deference towards heathen, man-made religions and to Judaism will certainly convey to many that basic principle, i.e. his incessant travels must serve to reinforce the syncretism of Assisi. 

Consider:  he smoked sweet grass with Canadian Indians on his Canadian tour, 1984. In 1984 he visited a Buddhist Temple in Thailand.  In 1985 he apologized to Moslems in his Morocco visit and also heaped great praise on them.  That same year he visited the sacred forest near Lohomay, Togo, in the company of Aseno or Great Priest of the Sacred Forest.

During his Togo visit the Pope met with snake-worshippers who were later to participate at Assisi.  In 1986 he visited the main Rome Synagogue on terms and seating posture of absolute equality with the old and superseded Covenant of Judaism.  In India, 1986, John Paul II allowed the ’tilak’, a sandal wood paste mark, to be applied to his forehead by a Hindu “Priestess”.  Everywhere he went in India, he quoted from the Hindu scriptures and actually partook in pagan rites.  He praised the Hindu syncretist Gandhi to the skies.  Gandhi said “I am a Christian and a Hindu and a Moslem and a Jew” and the Baha’is acted as religious advisers to the movie on Gandhi.  Moreover he recited the so-called “peace prayer”, the “asothama satgamaya” whose introduction by Cardinal Hume in England the great Hamish Fraser tried so hard to prevent.  What chance did Hamish have when the pope himself used that prayer?  In Suva, Fiji, November, 1986, the Pope drank “kava” a drink once condemned as a tool of devil worship.  The Pope downed it in one swallow.


Hans Kung Approves

Hans Kung, who was deprived of his status as a Catholic theologian in 1979, is a strong supporter of the Assisi initiative.  We quote from an NC report, Catholic Register (Toronto), April 19th, 1986:

Fr. Hans Kung, the Swiss-born professor of theology who has accused Pope John Paul II of having a pre-Vatican II mentality, has praised the Pope for his ongoing contacts with Christian and non-Christian religious leaders.  “In this the Pope is certainly within the policy of Vatican II”, Fr. Kung said in an interview… “Many consider me as if I were an opponent of this Pope in everything.” “This is false,” said Fr. Kung.  “I am happy to learn that the Pope speaks in favor of dialogues with other religions and that he commits himself to favoring these in his voyages“, he added.  Regarding dialogue with non-Christian religions, it is necessary “to avoid every impression that behind these new initiatives is hidden the old spirit of Roman imperialism”, he said.  (In other words – no converts!)… “I hope that the event of Assisi will be a meeting of equal dignity and not a manifestation of papal triumphalism,” he said… “Pope John Paul II, in calling for unified prayer by men of all faiths, shows he believes there is a common foundation for all religions“, he said.

We fear Hans Kung had in mind the Golden Rule – for significance see later.  It will be remembered too that Hans Kung, while Visiting Professor at the University of Toronto, echoed the familiar stench of syncretism when he wrote, “Let them (the Catholic Bishops) work for the final understanding among Christian Churches, for an unprejudiced dialogue with Jews, Moslems, and other religions.” (The globe and Mail, October 5, 1985)


The Golden Rule

Thanking the delegates for traveling long distances and making sacrifices to attend Assisi, the Pope said the “golden rule” taught by Christ, “Treat others as you would like them to treat you”, is a foundation for peace in all religions.  (Our Sunday Visitor, November 16, 1986). 




It is true that the Golden Rule is to be found in all religions.  There is also some evidence that the United Nations will proclaim the Golden Rule as the spiritual basis of its intended syncretist one world religion to be called World or Universal Brotherhood.  In which case the Soviet Union in particular and Communism in general having conquered the world by treachery, trickery, especially legalistic trickery, and outright aggression, would be able to quote the Golden Rule to protect their ill-gotten gains.  Just like the Robber turned Religious who quotes the 7th Commandment (Thou shalt not steal) to protect the swag he has already stolen!

Now the Golden Rule is an example of religious indifference par excellence.  Do you really want religious indifferentism as the spiritual basis of the emerging one world state?  Remember that with the Golden Rule you don’t necessarily get Christ at all:  you could get Krishna, Zoroaster, Confucius, or Hillel, etc.

Jews usually attribute the Golden Rule to Hillel, although it occurs in Leviticus (19:18) Hillel was President of the Sanhedrin and died about A.D. 10. He is greatly honoured today by the B’Nai B’Rith.  Bishop Fulton Sheen in his Life of Christ, McGraw-Hill Book Co. 1985, wrote that Hillel “may have been present in the Temple to join the discussion of the divine child”.  We also find in A Catholic Dictionary, 1949, it was said, “By Jewish and modernist writers that Hillel has been put forward as a rival to Christ…”

Nearly 80 years ago, the Catholic Encyclopedia, published in New York,  1910, had to affirm that Hillel “for personal character and spiritual insight and permanent influence cannot in any way compare with, much less equal or surpass, as some have affirmed of late, Christ, the Light and Saviour of the World”.

Christ (not the Golden Rule!) must be the spiritual basis of future world order.  For with Christ you automatically have the Golden Rule but not vise-versa. Pope Pius XII put the only solution for our tormented world as follows:

A call to revival, and cry for insurrection – a Christian insurrection – is heard throughout the world.  The world will have to be rebuilt in Jesus.


St Francis of Assisi

Let’s see how St. Francis himself approached the same problem in the 6th Crusade in 1219.  Oh yes, St. Francis wanted peace and he was “ecumenical” too!  After great difficulties and hazards, the Saint approached the Soldan (i.e. Sultan).  The following quotation is from Butler’s Lives of the Saints:

In the meantime St. Francis, burning with zeal for the conversion of the Saracens, desired to pass to their camp, fearing no dangers for Christ.  He was seized by the scouts of the infidels, to whom he cried out, “I am a Christian; conduct me to your master.”  Being brought before the soldan, and asked by him his errand, he said with wonderful intrepidity and fervour, “I am sent, not by men, but the most high God, to show you and your people the way of salvation, by announcing to you the truth of the gospel.”  The soldan appeared to be moved, and invited him to stay with him. The man of God replied, “If you and your people will listen to the word of God, I will stay with you.  If yet you waver between Christ and Mahomet, cause a great fire to be kindled, and I will go into it with your Imams (or priests) that you may see which is the true faith.”  The soldan answered that he did not believe any of their priests would be willing to go into the fire, or to suffer torments for their religion, and that he could not accept his condition for fear of sedition.


Assisi Assessment

Archbishop Lefebvre has said of Assisi, “In my view, this is a diabolical act” and “the supreme imposture, the culminating insult to Our Lord”.  We feel that Assisi will be repeated every year because, in his annual Christmas message, 1986, the Pope said, “The event at Assisi can be considered as a visible illustration, a lesson of facts, a catechism intelligible to all, of what the ecumenical commitment and the commitment of inter-religious dialogue presupposes and signifies”. (“A Model for Cooperation”, was the heading (Globe and Mail, Toronto, December 24, 1986)…

Pope John Paul II is our Pope and we must pray for him as never before.  We must invoke the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Lily of Israel, constantly, and under her titles “Conqueror of Heretics”, “Queen of Victories” and “Queen of Peace”…


The Spirit of Assisi

By Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, 1996

The spirit of Assisi: it was Pope John Paul II who coined the expression.

Since October 27th 1986, this “spirit” has been felt a little everywhere, losing none of the power of its first flowering. I have no intention of playing the old gardener, but, having been a fascinated witness of its germination in the Pope’s thought and the privileged artisan of its blooming, I feel I can affirm: on that day I heard the world’s heart-beat. A brief meeting on a hill, a word or two, a gesture, sufficed for fragmented humanity to joyfully rediscover its original unity. When, at the end of a grey morning, a rainbow appeared in the sky over Assisi, those leaders of religions, called together by the audacious prophet of one of them, Pope John Paul II, saw in it a pressing call to brotherhood: no one could doubt that it was prayer which had won this visible sign of concord between God and the descendants of Noah. At San Rufino Cathedral, when the heads of Christian Churches exchanged a sign of peace, I saw tears on the faces of some, and not of the least important ones. In front of St Francis’ Basilica where, perished by the cold, each one seemed to draw closer in that elbow-to-elbow finale (John Paul II was beside the Dalai Lama), when some young Jews leaped up on to the platform to offer olive branches to us, and to Muslims first of all, I found myself wiping the tears from my own face.




If I evoke that Day of Assisi with emotion, it is because I had obstinately led its laborious preparation between Charybde and Scylla, with the assistance of the Pontifical Council for the Unity of Christians and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. We had behind us no historical reference, before us no beacons. As the exegetes say, the meeting was a sort of “hapax” and it will certainly remain thus, unique, original and exemplary. The longing for peace between men and between peoples urged us ” to come together to pray but not to pray together” as it was explained by the Pope, whose initiative, despite his concern to avoid even the appearance of syncretism, was at that time misunderstood by some who feared their Christian specificity might be diluted.

Assisi caused the Church make a great leap forward towards non-Christian religions, which until then appeared to us to live on another planet, despite the teachings of Pope Paul VI (his first encyclical Ecclesiam Suam) and the Second Vatican Council (Declaration Nostra Aetate).

The encounter, or better collision of religions, is undoubtedly one of the greatest challenges of our era, even greater than the meeting with atheism. I never return from certain Muslim, Buddhist or Hindu countries without asking myself, keenly: what has God done with Jesus Christ when I see Christianity so reduced or reducing itself even more, proportionally speaking, on a continent in full demographic explosion such as Asia? Such a question is most salutary, since it concerns the fundamental question of salvation; it is the spear-head which purifies and fortifies our reasons for being Christians.

Assisi was the symbol, the staging of what the Church must do by virtue of her proper vocation before a world in a state of flagrant religious pluralism: to profess the unity of the mystery of salvation in Jesus Christ. When John Paul II tried to report to the cardinals and members of the Curia what happened in Assisi, he gave an address which appears to me to be the most explanatory for the theology of religions (22nd December 1986). Insisting on the mystery of the unity of the human family founded both on creation and on redemption in Jesus Christ, he said: “The differences are a lesser important element in relation to the unity which, on the contrary, is radical, fundamental and determining”. So Assisi permitted a number of men and women to bear witness to an authentic experience of God in the heart of their respective religions. “All authentic prayer, the Pope added, is fostered by the Holy Spirit who is mysteriously present in the heart of every human being”.

Assisi, happened ten years ago. Today, believers of various religions and communities, after the example of Elisha who receives Elijah’s cloak, are putting on the “spirit of Assisi”. The spirit of Assisi is gliding over the bubbling waters of the religions and is already creating marvels of fraternal dialogue. What will it lead to in the Year 2000? Pope John Paul II in his Letter Tertio Millennio adveniente traces precise milestones for the Great Jubilee; not forgetting followers of non-Christian religions, especially the Jews and the Muslims who, like Christians, claim descent from Abraham. He hopes for “joint meetings in places of significance for the great monotheistic religions” (n. 53). What for? Simply to allow all believers to participate “in the joy shared by all the disciples of Christ” (n. 55). A Jubilee is made for jubilation! The Church rejoices for salvation which she never ceases to welcome and she invites the whole of humanity to join the dance. It is folly – the folly of God – that which the spirit of Assisi may invent as a sequel to the Angels who sang on Christmas night: Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth to mankind whom He loves”!

“Spirit of Assisi”, come upon us all!


Assisi, with some suggestions for improving ecumenical gatherings; lunch with Gutiérrez and others

Vatican Correspondent John L. Allen Jr., February 1, 2002

Despite my positive reaction to the day, two aspects remain troubling. The first was the absence of women. I estimated the total number of women among the 200-some delegates at no more than 20, or 10 percent.

The second was the pope-centered nature of the day. . . Let the pope come as one among other participants, with no special role and so special place.

The major Vatican story last week was the Jan. 24 summit of spiritual leaders at Assisi, where participants opposed the manipulation of religion to justify violence. With Sikh clerics, Muslim imams, Jewish rabbis and Catholic cardinals lighting candles and embracing one another, the day projected a strong image of unity.

Below I’ll voice a couple of criticisms. Having stood under the prayer tent at Assisi and watched things unfold, however, my fundamental evaluation is positive. In the post-Sept.11 world, all messages of peace are welcome.

As with any big happening, what you saw on stage was only part of the experience. The warp and woof of such events includes a series of smaller and less public moments that are also part of the story.

The morning of Jan. 25, for example, the U.S. embassy to the Holy See hosted a breakfast for American participants at Assisi. Guests included Robert Schuller, pastor of the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California, whose weekly TV service “Hour of Power” has an audience estimated at 30 million; George Freeman, general secretary of the World Methodist Council; and Denton Lotz, general secretary of the Baptist World Alliance. A few of us in the press were also invited.

There was, it must be said, a smidgen of political spin. Rabbi Arthur Schneier, head of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation in New York and a good friend of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington, D.C., claimed that Assisi “showed what the United States is all about in fighting terrorism around the world.”

The main purpose of the breakfast, however, was to announce a State Department grant of $60,000 to the Sant’Egidio Community, one of the “new movements” in the Catholic Church, to support a project in Kosovo that teaches reconciliation skills to Serbian Orthodox and Albanian Muslim children. The idea is to raise a generation that knows something other than ethnic hatred.



U.S. ambassador to the Holy See James Nicholson gave a brief talk praising Sant’Egidio, and then Claudio Mario Betti of Sant’Egidio thanked Nicholson. Deliberately framing a contrast with the bloody events of Sept. 11, Betti said the spirit of Assisi is to allow ourselves to be “hijacked by God.”

(The grant, by the way, illustrates the limits of ideological labels as a means of predicting behavior. Nicholson, a former head of the Republican National Committee and a Bush appointee, is what would conventionally be described as “conservative.” The anti-death penalty, pro-debt relief Sant’Egidio movement, born of the leftist Roman student energies of 1968, is seen as “liberal.” Yet that has not blinded either to the possibilities for collaboration).

The grant capped a very good week for Sant’Egidio. They saw in the Assisi summit an endorsement of their efforts to keep inter-religious dialogue alive over the last 15 years.

After John Paul II’s first inter-religious gathering in Assisi in 1986, there was a torrent of criticism from the Catholic right, charging that the event promoted syncretism and relativism. After the controversy, it became clear that the Vatican was not going to pick up the ball, and so Sant’Egidio did. Every year since, the community has sponsored a major inter-religious gathering “in the spirit of Assisi.”

On the way out of the press center in Assisi at the end of the day Thursday, I ran into the Sant’Egidio brain trust and shouted a hearty bravissimi, an Italian way of saying “great job.” One of them stopped me and said, “I’m glad someone understands. You know what this means? Today, dialogue is less illegitimate. That’s something, no?”

It’s something indeed.

Back to the breakfast. After Nicholson announced the grant, the guys from Sant’Egidio got a brief crash course in American democracy. Guests were going around the room making short remarks, and Lotz, the Baptist official, used his turn to complain that taxpayer dollars were going to a “sectarian group.” He argued that separation of church and state was the best insurance against a “clash of civilizations.”

Nicholson, ever the diplomat, thanked Lotz for his words, then gently reminded him the money was going to schools in Kosovo and not to Sant’Egidio.

Schuller offered his impressions of Assisi.

“The key words are humility and honesty,” Schuller said. “I never saw them reflected so sincerely in any religious gathering I’ve ever attended.” In what was perhaps an unintended play on words, Schuller said Assisi was “a day of worship, not pontificating.”

“Religions usually come together on the assumption that they have all the answers, and that the others should be converted,” Schuller said. “Thus we get collisions rather than coalitions.

“At Assisi, the leadership did not embarrass or humiliate any other religion. As a Christian and a follower of Christ, I believe Christ was honored yesterday.”

Finally, Monsignor Frank Dewane, an American and under-secretary of the Pontifical Council for Peace and Justice, gave an impressive impromptu talk summarizing what had been said, picking up especially on Schuller’s comments about honesty and humility.

“I don’t think you can get to the second if you don’t have the first,” he said.

I think Dewane’s comments helped put a human face on the Vatican for the others present, not always the easiest thing to do.

* * *

While the pope and the other religious leaders were sending signals in Assisi, the work of carrying dialogue forward was being carried out at lower levels around the world, in the trenches, where real change is always forged.

One example took place in Rome, at the Second International Conference for Rectors of Roman Catholic Seminaries, sponsored by the Cardinal Suenens Center of John Carroll University in Cleveland. The conference’s purpose was to examine how inter-religious dialogue and inculturation can become part of seminary formation. The intuition is that tomorrow’s pastors and chancery officials need to have a personal commitment to dialogue if it is to thrive.

Cardinal Godfried Danneels of Belgium, a successor to Suenens in more senses than one, was among the keynote speakers.

Because of other commitments, I was able to drop in on the conference only on its last day, Saturday, Jan. 26. I found the discussion enormously stimulating. I joined a session on Dominus Iesus where participants from India, Zambia and Russia talked about how the document was received in their environments. While reaction from India was negative, the Russian Orthodox, who tend to be traditional doctrinally, strongly approved.

The real treat of the day was the opportunity to have lunch with Gustavo Gutiérrez, the Peruvian theologian whose 1971 book, A Theology of Liberation, gave a name to the liberation theology movement in Latin American Catholicism. I have long admired Gutiérrez, and presented him with an inscribed copy of my biography of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

A key principle for Gutiérrez has always been coupling theological reflection with a lived commitment to the poor. He spends much of his time in Rimac, a Lima slum, where he founded the Bartolomé de las Casas Center.

Gutiérrez has never been a full-time faculty member of a university theology department. At lunch I pointed out that in this way he’s like Hans urs von Balthasar, a 20th century Swiss theologian associated with conservative reaction against the Second Vatican Council, who also did his theological work largely outside the academy.

Gutiérrez, with a twinkle in his eye, said that may be “the only thing we have in common.”

During a session on inculturation, Gutiérrez said dialogue must not simply be a matter of elites meeting elites, but it must bring the poor into view. He asked, for example, why inter-religious dialogue in India never seems to include the 200 million oppressed Dalit people, who have a faith tradition separate from Hinduism.


Gutiérrez, now a member of the Dominican order, teaches for six weeks twice a year at Notre Dame. I hope he will be heard by those responsible for organizing dialogues at all levels, so that they will not be deaf to the cry of the poor.

I should add that Gutiérrez and I were joined at lunch by Passionist Fr. Donald Senior of Chicago’s Catholic Theological Union, Jesuit Fr. Joseph Daoust of the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, and Jesuit Fr. Daniel Madigan of Rome’s Gregorian University. I also had the chance to lunch separately with Fr. Donald Cozzens, whose book The Changing Face of the Priesthood offers an honest, important look at priestly life today. Anyone tempted to despair about the future, especially about the kind of preparation our future ministers are receiving, should spend some time around these guys. It’s a definite pick-me-up.

* * *

A final word about Assisi.

Despite my positive reaction to the day, two aspects remain troubling. The first was the absence of women. I estimated the total number of women among the 200-some delegates at no more than 20, or 10 percent. Granted that the Vatican can’t dictate to other religions who makes up their delegations, the imbalance was still striking, especially on the Catholic side.

The second was the pope-centered nature of the day. John Paul II occupied the center car on the “prayer train” from the Vatican to Assisi. It was he who invited everyone, he who occupied center stage, he who spoke last. I suspect many of the delegates under the tent were a bit put off by the way the young Franciscans continually interrupted the proceedings to chant “Giovanni Paolo” and clap.

For anyone inclined to be leery of the triumphalist leanings of the Catholic Church, Assisi probably fueled those concerns.

Hence, two suggestions for the next pan-religious summit.

First, I would urge the Vatican to cut back on the number of cardinals (31 this time, with a baker’s dozen more archbishops and bishops) and find room for some women. I suspect that would put enormous pressure on other delegations to do the same.

Second, I would propose that the next gathering be held off Catholic turf. Let someone else convoke it — the Dalai Lama, or the Archbishop of Canterbury. Let the pope come as one among other participants, with no special role and so special place.

The TV cameras will focus on the pope anyway, of course. He can’t get out from under his celebrity. But the symbolism of being a humble participant rather than the CEO of Religion Inc., would, I think, do much to foster the ministry of service that John Paul described in Ut unum sint.

That, too, would be “in the spirit of Assisi,” even if it happened someplace else.


What should we make of Assisi 1986?

(Reprint of 1986) February 2002 (Traditionalist)

Archbishop Lefebvre’s Letter to Eight Cardinals about Assisi 1986

Your Eminence,

Confronted with events taking place in the Church that have John Paul II as their author and faced with those he intends carrying out at Taizé and Assisi in October, I cannot refrain from addressing you and begging you in the name of numerous priests and faithful to save the honor of the Church never before humiliated to such an extent in the course of her history.

The speeches and actions of John Paul II in Togo, Morocco, and the Indies cause a righteous indignation to rise up in our heart. What do the Saints, the holy men and women of the Old and New Testaments make of this? What would the Holy Inquisition do if it were still in existence?

He who now sits upon the Throne of Peter mocks publicly the first article of the Creed and the first Commandment of the Decalogue.

The scandal given to Catholic souls cannot be measured. The Church is shaken to its very foundations. If faith in the Church, the only ark of salvation, disappears, then the Church herself disappears.

Is John Paul II to continue ruining the Church, in particular at Assisi, with the planned procession of religions in the streets of the town of St. Francis and the sharing out of religions in the chapels of the basilica with a view to practicing their worship in favor of peace as conceived by the United Nations?

It is what Cardinal Etchegaray, in charge of this abominable congress, has announced.

Is it conceivable that no authoritative voice has been raised in the Church to condemn these public sins? Where are the Machabees?

Eminence, for the honor of the one true God and of our Lord Jesus Christ, make a public protest, come to the help of the still faithful bishops, priests and Catholics.

Eminence, if I took the step of contacting you it is because I do not doubt your sentiments in this matter.

I am also addressing this appeal to those Cardinals named below so that eventually you may be able to work together.

May the Holy Ghost come to your aid, and please accept, Eminence, my devoted and fraternal greetings in Christ and Mary.

Archbishop Lefebvre, Emeritus Bishop-Archbishop of Tulle

Econe, August 27, 1986


It is a truism that men come to accept anything if they see it often enough; hence it is good to recall the theological criteria by which to judge this kind of undertaking. The review SISINONO published an excellent study in 1986 which is reprinted here because of its timeliness.


What Should We Make of Assisi?

It has been said, with undoubtedly unintended exactness, that the “prayer meeting” at Assisi is a “personal initiative” of Pope John Paul II. In so far as it is only a “personal” initiative, it does not engage his mandate as “pastor and teacher of all Christians” (Vatican I). By conforming itself to the political theme set by the United Nations, which proclaimed the year 1986 an “international year of peace,” neither does it concern doctrine.

At Assisi, next October 27, not only will the Catholics gather at Assisi, but also “the representatives of the world’s other religions” will join them in an assembly for peace.1 Those whom Pope John Paul II has called “the representatives of the other religions” the Church has always more appropriately called infidels. “Broadly speaking, infidels are those who do not possess the true faith; in the strict sense infidels are the unbaptized. They are divided into monotheists (Jews and Moslems), polytheists (Hindus, Buddhists, etc.), and atheists.”2
What Pope John Paul II has called the “other” religions, the Church has more properly called the false religions. A false religion is any non-Christian religion “in so far as it is not the religion that God revealed and wants to see practiced. Moreover, every non-Catholic Christian sect is false in so far as it neither accepts nor faithfully practices the entire content of Revelation.”
3 This having been said, in light of the Catholic Faith, the prayer meeting of religions at Assisi can be considered tantamount to: 1) an insult to God; 2) a denial of the universal necessity of Redemption; 3) a lack of justice and charity towards the infidels; 4) a danger and a scandal to Catholics; and 5)
a betrayal of the Church’s and Peter’s mission.


1) An Insult to God

All prayer, including petition, is an act of worship.4 As such, it must be addressed to Whom it is due, and in the right way. To whom it is due: The one true God, Creator and Lord of all men, the one to whom the Lord Jesus Christ has brought them back (I Jn. 5:20) by confirming the first commandment of the Law. “I am the Lord thy God …Thou shalt not have strange gods before me ….Thou shalt not adore them, nor serve them…” (Ex. 20:2-5).5
In the right way: Thus, it must be prayer that corresponds to the fullness of Revelation without admixture of error: “But the hour cometh and now is, when the true adorers shall adore the Father in spirit and in truth. For the Father also seeketh such to adore him” Jn. 4:23).

Prayer which is addressed to false gods or inspired by religious opinions differing in whole or in part from divine Revelation, is not an act of worship, but of superstition. It does not honor God; it offends Him. At least, objectively, it is a sin against the first commandment.6 To whom are the persons to gather at Assisi going to pray, and in what way? Invited in their capacity as “representatives of the other religions,” “everyone will pray in his own way and customary style.” This was explained by Cardinal Willebrands, President of the Secretariat for Non-Christian Religions.7 This was confirmed last June 27 by Cardinal Etchegaray at a press conference published by Documentation Catholique of September 7-21, 1986, under the rubric “Acts of the Holy See”: “It involves respecting each one’s prayer, and allowing everyone to express himself in the fullness of his faith, of his belief.”

On October 27 at Assisi, superstition will be widely practiced in its most serious forms, from the “false worship” of Jews who, during the era of grace, pretend to honor God by denying His Christ,8 to the idolatry of Hindus and Buddhists who offer a cult to creatures instead of to God.9

The Catholic hierarchy’s apparent approbation of this is especially insulting to God, for it supposes and allows it to be supposed that He looks with equal complacency upon acts of true worship and acts of superstition, upon manifestations of faith and manifestations of incredulity, upon the true religion and upon the false religions; in short, upon truth and upon error.


2) Denial of the Universal Necessity of Redemption

There is but one Mediator between God and men: the Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God and true man (I Tim. 2:5). By nature, men are “children of wrath” (Eph. 2:3); by Him, they have been reconciled with the Father (Col. 1:20), and it is only by faith in Him that they can have the boldness to approach God with entire confidence (Eph. 3:12). To Him was given all power in heaven and on earth (Mt. 28:18), and at His name every knee must bend, in heaven, on earth, and under the earth (Phil. 2:10, 11). No one goes to the Father save by Him (Jn. 14:6), and there is no other name under heaven given to man by which he must be saved (Acts 4:12). He is the Light that enlightens every man who comes into the world (Jn.1:9), and whoever does not follow Him wanders in darkness (Jn. 8:12). Who is not with Him is against Him (Mt. 13:30), and who does not honor Him also dishonors His Father who sent Him (as the Jews do) (Jn. 5:23). To Him has the Father given the judgment of men, but he who refuses belief has already been judged, because he has not believed in the name of the Only Son of God (Jn. 3:18), nor in the Father who sent Him (Jn. 17:3). He is, moreover, the Prince of Peace (Is. 9:6),11 for divisions, conflicts, and wars are the bitter fruit of sin from which man cannot free himself by his own virtue, but only in virtue of the Redeemer’s blood.

What place will the Lord Jesus Christ have at Assisi in the prayer of the “representatives of the other religions”? None, for to them He remains either unknown, or a stumbling block, or a sign of contradiction. The invitation that was addressed to them to pray for peace in the world supposes, and inevitably allows it to be supposed, that there are people – the Christians – who must approach God by the mediation of the Lord Jesus Christ and in His name, and others – the rest of the human race – who can approach God directly and in their own name, without regard to the Mediator; that there are some men who must bend the knee before the Lord Jesus Christ, and some who are exempt; some men who must seek peace in the reign of the Lord Jesus Christ, and others who can obtain peace outside His reign and even in opposing it.

This is the idea that comes from the declarations of the two cardinals quoted above: “While for us Christians Christ is our peace, for all believers peace is a gift of God” 12; “for Christians, prayer goes through Christ.”13

The “prayer meeting” of Assisi, then, is the public negation of the universal necessity of Redemption.



3) A Lack of Justice and Charity towards the Infidels

“Jesus Christ is not optional,” said Cardinal Pie. There are not some men who are justified by faith in Him, and others who are justified without regard to Him: Every man is either saved by Christ or is lost without Him. Nor are there any purely natural ends for which a man can opt instead of his unique supernatural end. If, gone astray in sin, he finds himself out of Christ, the unique Way (Jn. 4:6) by which to attain the end for which he was created, all that is left him is everlasting ruin.

Real faith, and not mere “good faith,” is the subjective condition for salvation for everyone, even for the pagans. Since it is a necessity of means, “if it is lacking (even involuntarily) it is absolutely impossible to effect eternal salvation.”14 Voluntary infidelity, St. Thomas explains, is a fault and involuntary infidelity is a punishment. In fact, the infidels who are not lost because of the sin of incredulity, that is, by the sin of not having believed in Christ about whom they never knew anything, are lost by their other sins, the remission of which cannot be given to anyone without the true faith.”15

Nothing, then, is more important for man than to accept the Redeemer and union with the Mediator: it is a matter of eternal death or life. This is what the infidels have a right to hear announced by the Catholic Church, in conformity to the divine command.16 And this is what the Catholic Church has always announced to the infidels by praying, not with them, but for them.

What will happen at Assisi? They certainly won’t pray for the infidels, thus presuming implicitly and publicly that they no longer need the true faith. Instead of that, they will pray in union with them, or rather, according to the rabbinical subtlety of Radio Vatican, they will pray near them, presuming thus implicitly and publicly that prayer dictated by error is received by God as much as prayer made “in spirit and in truth.” “It involves respecting each one’s prayer,” Cardinal Etchegaray explained in his brief declaration. That means that the infidels who will gather at Assisi, who, let us be clear, are not “savages brought up in the forest” who have “never known anything about the faith,” as the theologians hypothesize when discussing the problem of the salvation of infidels,17 will be “respectfully” left “in the darkness and in the shadow of death” (Luke 1:79).

Authorized to pray in their distinctive costumes as “representatives of the other religions” and in conformity with their erroneous religious beliefs, they are even encouraged to persevere in sins, at least material, against the faith: infidelity, heresy, etc…  Invited to pray for peace in the world, defined as a “fundamental” and “supreme” good,18 they are turned away from the eternal goods towards a temporal good, towards a secondary natural end, as if they didn’t need to procure their supernatural last end, which really is fundamental and supreme: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His justice, and all these things shall be added unto you” (Mt. 6:33). For all these reasons, the “prayer meeting” of Assisi is, at least viewed from the outside, a lack of justice and charity towards the infidels.


4) A Danger and a Scandal to Catholics

True faith is indispensable for salvation. Catholics are thus obliged to avoid every proximate danger to their faith. Among the exterior dangers is contact with infidels when it is not the result of genuine necessity. This contact is illicit in virtue of divine and natural law even without considering ecclesiastical law, and even in the case where ecclesiastical law does not prohibit it, for example in social relations: Haereticum hominem devita (Avoid the heretic) (Tit. 3:10).

Moreover, out of maternal concern, the Church has always forbidden not only what might be a danger to the faith but also an occasion of scandal.19 As for the false religions, the Church has always refused them the right to public worship. She has tolerated it when it was necessary, but tolerance always means “in relation to an evil to be allowed for a proportionate reason.”20 In any case, she has always avoided and forbidden any apparent approval of non-Catholic rites.

What is going to happen at Assisi? Catholics and infidels “will gather to pray” (even though it will not be “to pray together”…). That simply means that they will pray together at Assisi, first simultaneously in their own residences, and then, by turns when united at the closing ceremony before the basilica of St. Francis. And this is not being done in order to protect the faith of Catholics or to at least avoid scandalizing them. Rather, it is to allow all to pray “according to their own manner and style,” and to “respect each one’s prayer” and to “allow everyone to express himself in the fullness of his faith, of his belief.”21 All this constitutes at least an exterior approbation of: 1) false religions, to which the Church as always denied any right; 2) religious subjectivism, which she has always condemned under the names of indifferentism or latitudinarianism, and which “seeks to justify itself under the pretended claims of liberty, failing to recognize the rights of objective truth which are made manifest either by the lights of reason or by Revelation.22

Religious indifferentism, which is “one of the most deleterious heresies” and which “places all religions on an equal footing,” inevitably leads one to consider the truth of religious belief as merely a matter of utility for a well-regulated life … “One ends by considering religion as an entirely individual thing which can be adapted to the dispositions of each one, letting everyone form his own personal religion, and by concluding that all the religions are good even though they contradict each other.” 23 But with this point of view we are outside the Catholic act of faith, and have reached something …like an act of incredulity towards divine Revelation.

Revelation is a reality, a fact, a truth accredited by God by sure signs, because error in this domain would have had disastrous consequences for men.24 But in the presence of an undeniable fact or of an evident truth, one cannot be tolerant to the point of approving the attitude of those who consider them to be non-existent or false. That would suppose that we do not really believe or are not fully convinced of the truth of our position, or that we are (or deem ourselves to be) dealing with a matter that is absolutely banal or indifferent, or that we would consider truth and error to be purely relative positions.25

And since the “prayer meeting” is characterized by all of that, it is an occasion of scandal for Catholics and of grave danger to their faith. Because of ecumenism, they find themselves united to the infidels, but in their “common ruin.”26



5) Betrayal of the Mission Confided to Peter and to the Church

The Church’s mission is to announce to all nations that 1) there is one true God, who revealed Himself for the benefit of all men in our Lord Jesus Christ; 2) that there is only one true religion, the only one by which God wishes to be honored, because He is Truth, and everything in the false religions which goes against the truth is repugnant to Him: doctrinal errors, immoral laws, unseemly rites; 3) that there is only one Mediator between God and men, by whom men can hope to be saved, because all are sinners and remain in their sin if they are deprived of the Blood of Christ; 4) that there is one true Church, the perpetual guardian of this Blood, and that “it is necessary to believe that no one can be saved outside the apostolic Roman Church, which is the unique ark of salvation, and those who do not enter it will perish in the deluge27; moreover, among their moral dispositions must be the desire, explicit or implicit, to fully accomplish the will of God, if their ignorance is truly invincible.28

The Church’s proper mission is to announce all this: “Going therefore, teach ye all nations: baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Mt. 28:19-20). “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned” (Mk. 16:16).

So that the Church could accomplish with assurance this mission throughout the centuries, our Lord Jesus Christ conferred on St. Peter and his successors the mission of visibly representing Him (Mt. 16, 17-19; Jn. 21:15-17)

The Vicar of Jesus Christ is not charged with establishing a new doctrine with the help of new revelations, nor of creating a new order of things, nor of instituting new sacraments: such is not his function. He represents Jesus Christ at the head of His Church, whose constitution has been finalized. This essential constitution, that is to say, the creation of the Church, was Jesus Christ’s proper task which He, Himself, had to conclude, and of which He said to the Father: “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do” (Jn. 17:4). Nothing more needs to be added; it only remains to maintain this creation, to assure the Church’s work and preside over the functioning of its organs. Two things are necessary for this: govern it, and perpetuate the teaching of the truth. Vatican Council I reduced to these two points the supreme function of the Vicar of Jesus Christ. Peter represents Jesus Christ under these two aspects.29

There is no power in the Church like Peter’s, but it is power as vicar, and as such, is no wise absolute, but limited by the divine right of Him whom he represents. “The Lord confided to Peter, not Peter’s sheep, but His own in order to pasture them, not in his own interest, but God’s.”30 It is not within Peter’s power, therefore, to promote initiatives in disaccord with the mission of the Church and of the Roman Pontiff, as clearly is the “prayer meeting” of Assisi. The Vicar of Him who said: “Begone, Satan, for it is written, ‘The Lord thy God thou shalt adore, and him only shalt thou serve'” (Mt. 4:10; Deut. 6:13), cannot invite “the representatives” of the false religions to pray to their false gods in places consecrated to the faith in the true God. The Successor of him who obtained the primacy by his act of faith when he said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt. 16:16; cf. Jn. 6:69-70), cannot authorize anyone to treat Jesus Christ as irrelevant. The Successor of him who received the commission to confirm his brethren in the faith (Luke 22:32), has no right to be a stumbling block for their faith. Ω


1. Cf. L’Osservatore Romano, Jan. 26-27, 1986.

2. Roberti-Palazzini, Dizionario di teologia morale, p.813.


4Summa Theologica, II-II, Q.83.

5. Mt. 4:3-10; Jn. 17:3; Tim. 2:.5. See also on this topic Pietro Cardinal Palazzini, Vita a virtu cristiane, p.52, and Garrigou-Lagrange, De Revelatione (Rome-Paris: 1918), vol. 1, p.136.

6. Cf. Summa Theologica, II-II, QQ 92-96.

7. See L’Osservatore Romano, January 27-28, 1986, p.4.

8Summa Theologica, Il-II, Q92, Art.2, ad 3, and I II, Q10, Art. 11

9. Cf. Acts 17:16.

10. Cf. Summa Theologica, II-II, Q94, Art. 1.

11. Cf. Eph. 2:14 and Mich. 5:.5.

12. Cardinal Willebrands in L’Osservatore Romano cited above.

13. Cardinal Etchegaray, cited above in Documentation Catholique.

14Dizionario di teologia morale, p.66.

15. See Mk. 16:15-16; Jn. 20:31; Heb. 11:6; Council of Trent in Denzinger 799 and 801; Vatican II, Dz. 1793. Cf. Summa Theologica, II-II, Q. 11, Art. 1.

16. Mk. 6:16; Mt. 28:19-20.

17. St. Thomas Aquinas, De Veritate, 14, 11.

18. John Paul II and Cardinal Willebrands in L’Osservatore Romano, April 7-8, and Jan. 27-28, 1986, respectively.

19. See the 1917 Code of Canon Law, canons 1258 and 2316; and Summa Theologica, II-Il, Q. 10, Art. 9-11.

20Dizionario de teologia morale, p.1702.

21. See the declarations of Cardinals Willebrands and Etchegaray cited above.

22Dizionario de teologia morale, p.805.


24. Pope Leo XIII, encyclical letter Libertas, 1888.




25Dizionario di teologia morale, p.1703.

26. Pope Pius XII, Humani Generis, 1950.

27. Pope Pius IX, Dz.1647.


29. Dom Adrien Gréa, De l’Eglise et de sa divine constitution; cf. Vatican I, constitution Pastor Aeternus, Ch. 4

30. St. Augustine, Sermon 285, No.3.


What should we make of Assisi 2002?

February 2002 (Traditionalist)

Press Release from Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X, Concerning the Interreligious Day of Prayer in Assisi on January 24, 2002.

Pope John Paul II is inviting all the major religions of the world, the Moslems in particular, to a great prayer meeting in Assisi, in the same spirit of the first meeting for peace that took place there in 1986. We are deeply distressed by this event and condemn it totally.

—Because it offends God in His first commandment.

—Because it denies the unity of the Church and Her mission of saving souls.

—Because it can only lead the faithful into confusion and indifferentism.

—Because it deceives the unfortunate infidels and members of other religions.

The problem does not lie in the object of the prayers-peace. To pray for peace and to seek to establish and strengthen peace between peoples and nations is a good thing in itself. The Catholic liturgy is full of beautiful prayers for peace. We pray these prayers with all our hearts. Moreover, given the fact that the angels announced, on the birth of our Lord .Jesus Christ, peace on earth to men of good will, it is totally fitting to ask the faithful to implore the One True God to grant us a gift of such great value at this stage in the year.

The reason for our indignation lies in the confusion, scandal and blasphemy that result from an invitation from the Vicar of our Lord Jesus Christ, sole mediator between God and man, to other religions to come to Assisi to pray for peace.

It has been stated that to avoid any syncretism, those attending will not be praying “together,” but that each religion will pray in separate rooms in the Franciscan convent at Assisi. Cardinal Kasper went so far – and rightly so – to affirm that “Christians cannot pray with members of other religions.” (L’Osservatore Romano, Jan. 5, 2002). However, this affirmation is not enough to dissipate the dreadful uneasiness and confusion caused by the event; it cannot be denied that all kinds of religions will be praying “each in their own camp” to obtain from these prayers said at the same time, but in different locations, the same result: peace. The fact that all have been invited to pray, at the same time and in the same town, for the same intention is clear proof of the desire for unity. On the other hand, the fact that the prayers will be offered in separate locations betrays the contradictory and impossible nature of the project. In reality, the distinction is false, even though, thanks be to God, it avoids a direct communicatio in sacris. However, the syncretic nature of the operation is obvious to all. Recourse to deceitful words has made it possible to deny the painfully obvious reality. But words do not mean anything any more: we will be going to Assisi, not to pray together, we are going there together to pray …no syncretism, etc.

The establishment of civil (political) peace between nations by congresses, discussions, diplomacy, with the intervention of influential persons of different nations and religions, is one thing. It is another to claim to obtain the gift of peace from God by the prayer of all (false) religions. Such an initiative is completely inconsistent with the Catholic Faith and goes against the first commandment.

This is not a question of individual prayer, that of one man, in his own particular relationship with God, whether as Creator or Sanctifier, but the prayer of different religions, as such, with their own particular rite addressed to their own particular divinity. Holy Scripture, (both the Old and the New Testaments) teaches us that the only prayer pleasing to God is that of Him, whom He established as sole mediator between Himself and men, and that this prayer can only be found in the one true religion. God considers an abomination all other religions, especially idolatry, the summum of all superstitions.

Moreover, how can one hope to claim that religions that fail to recognize the one true God can possibly obtain anything from Him? St. Paul assures us that these false gods are fallen angels and demons.

But the things which the heathens sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils and not to God. And I would not that you should be made partakers with devils. You cannot drink the chalice of the Lord, and the chalice of devils: you cannot be partakers of the table of the Lord, and of the table of devils (I Cor. 10: 20-21).

Inviting these religions to pray is inviting them to make an act that God reproves, that He condemns in the first commandment, one God alone shall you adore. It is leading the members of such religions into error and condoning their ignorance and misfortune.

Worse still: this invitation implies that their prayers might be useful, or even necessary, in order to obtain peace. Almighty God made it perfectly clear what He thinks of this, via the words of His apostle St. Paul:

Bear not the yoke with unbelievers. For what participation hath justice with injustice? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath the faithful with the unbeliever? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God; as God saith: “I will dwell in them, and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (II Cor. 6:14-16).



“We will never fully understand the struggle between the good and the wicked throughout history, as long as we do not see it as the personal and unyielding battle for all time between Satan and Jesus Christ” wrote Archbishop Lefebvre in all his wisdom (Spiritual Journey, p.37 [available from Angelus Press, Price: $7.95]). This fundamental truth, as far as war and peace are concerned, would appear to have been totally forgotten in the thinking behind the initiative in Assisi.

At one point during the day, everyone will be gathered together. When, then, will the participants hear the cry of the first Pope, St. Peter: “Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). The same Jesus Christ, sole Savior, is also the sole author of peace. But will anyone dare point out these elementary truths to guests who are strangers to Christianity? Fear of hurting their feelings will mean that this absolutely essential condition for true peace will be overlooked or reduced to a purely subjective belief (“for us Christians, Jesus Christ is God,” etc.)

As we have just pointed out: Not only is there only one true God and “so that they are inexcusable” (Rom. 1:20), but there is also only one mediator (I Tim. 2:5), one sole ambassador authorized by God, who intercedes ceaselessly on our behalf (Heb. 7:25). Religions which refuse to recognize His divinity explicitly, such as Judaism and Islam, have no chance of having their prayers answered, because of so fundamental an error.

Who is a liar, but he who denieth that Jesus is the Christ? This is Antichrist, who denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father. He that confesseth the Son, hath the Father also (I Jn. 2:22-23).

Despite monotheistic appearances, we do not have the same God, we do not have the same mediator. Only the mystical bride of Christ (Eph. 5:32) has the prerogative of obtaining from God, in the name of, and through, our Lord Jesus Christ, any favors, in particular that of peace. Such is the faith that the Church has taught and believed constantly, throughout the ages and from time immemorial. This is, by no means, a question of intolerance or of disdain for one’s neighbor, it is a question of an unchangeable truth. “No one comes to the Father but through me” (Jn. 14:6).

To make gestures, or to get others to make them, that no longer express this, is to deceive oneself. It offends God, our Lord Jesus Christ in whom He is well pleased, and His Holy Church (Mt. 16:18). How can those who refuse this mediation – as do the Jews and Moslems explicitly, in refusing to recognize His divinity – possibly hope to have their prayers answered? The same goes for those who refuse to accept the Church’s role as mediator.

John Paul II has attempted to justify the prayer meetings in Assisi on several occasions. In fact, one of his arguments is founded on the definition of prayer. “All authentic prayer comes from the Holy Ghost, who dwells mysteriously in every soul.” Inasmuch as one attributes the correct meaning to the word “authentic,” one could accept the first part of the sentence. But it is obvious that one cannot say that the prayer of a Buddhist, before an idol of Buddha, or that of a witchdoctor smoking the peace pipe, or that of an animist, is authentic.

The only authentic prayer is true prayer addressed to the true God. It is totally wrong to qualify a prayer addressed to the devil as authentic. Can the prayer of a fanatical terrorist, before crashing into the Manhattan tower, “Allah is great,” be called authentic?

Wasn’t he convinced that he was doing the right thing, doesn’t that make him sincere? It is clear that a purely subjective way of looking at things is not sufficient to make a prayer authentic.

The second part of the sentence: “the Holy Ghost dwells mysteriously in every soul,” or in every man, is certainly false. The word “mysteriously” can be misleading: in Catholic theology, as in Holy Scripture, the dwelling of the Holy Ghost is directly linked to the presence of sanctifying grace. One of the first formulae used in baptism consists of commanding the devil to leave the soul in order to let the Holy Ghost enter it. This demonstrates quite clearly that the Holy Ghost did not dwell in the soul before baptism. And so, the justification for the interdenominational day of prayer at Assisi is based on a false premise.

Those wishing to promote dialogue, which requires considering the other party in a highly positive light, argue that there is much good in other religions, and, given that God is the sole source of good, God is at work in other religions. This is pure sophistry, based on the lack of distinction between natural order and supernatural order. It goes without saying that, when one speaks of the action of God in a religion, one implies a work of salvation. This means God who saves by His grace. His supernatural grace. On the other hand, the good referred to in other religions, (non-Christian ones at any rate) is merely natural; in such cases, God is acting as Creator, who gives being to all things, and not as savior. The determination of the Vatican II Council to dispense with the distinction between the order of grace and natural order bears, in this respect, its most poisonous fruits. The result is the worst sort of confusion, that which leads people to think that any religion can finally obtain the greatest favors from God. This is a huge fraud, a ridiculous error.

It is in keeping with the Masonic plot to establish a grand temple of universal brotherhood above all religions and beliefs, “Unity in diversity,” a concept so dear to the New Age and to globalization.

We were excommunicated by Clement XI in 1738 because of our interdenominational principles. But the Church was definitely in error, if it is true that, on October 27, 1986, the present Pope gathered together men of all religious confessions in Assisi to pray for peace. What else are our brothers looking for when they gather together in temples, than love between men, tolerance, solidarity, defense of the dignity of the human being, considering themselves equal, above political and religious beliefs and the color of their skin? (Grand Master Armando Corona, of the Grand Lodge of the Spring Equinox, Hiram- Voice of the Grand Orient of ltaly, April 1987)

One thing is certain: there is no better way to provoke the anger of God.

This is why, despite our strong desire for the peace of God, we will have absolutely nothing to do with this day of prayer on January 24th, in Assisi. Nullam partem.

+ Bernard Fellay

January 21, 2002



The “Spirit of Assisi” vs. Saint Francis of Assisi

By John Vennari, April 2002 (Traditionalist)

It is becoming increasingly obvious that within the Church since the Council we are now in the age of slogans: empty, meaningless slogans that really do not have much substance and that do not convey the true picture of what is actually being promoted. 
We are all familiar with the slogans: the promise of a “new springtime,” a “civilization of love,” a “new Pentecost,” and now, a novel orientation named “the spirit of Assisi” (1). 
In a recent lecture called “The New Pentecost vs. the True Pentecost,” I explained that the only way we could call anything a “new Pentecost” is to test first how it compares with the true Pentecost as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles (2). There I described how, point-by-point, the so-called “new Pentecost” fails to measure up to the first Pentecost, especially regarding the conversion of the Jews. Often, the so-called “new Pentecost” is the direct opposite of what we see in the true Pentecost. 
Likewise with the “Spirit of Assisi,” a previously unheard-of term that recently came into vogue in Catholic circles. The term automatically invokes the idea that there is a connection with Saint Francis of Assisi. 
So, what does the “spirit of Assisi” have to do with Saint Francis of Assisi? 
Nothing! In fact, they are contradictory spirits. 
Within a Catholic context, it is not possible to have a “spirit of Assisi” that is divorced from Saint Francis of Assisi. Yet this is exactly what the pan-religious “spirit of Assisi” is. It is something that Saint Francis of Assisi would have regarded with absolute horror. 
The “Spirit of Assisi,” spearheaded in 1986, comprises Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox, Jews, Moslems, Animists, Hindus, Zoroastrians, Witch Doctors, and various others gathering at the same place (usually at a Catholic church) to pray for peace. The Catholic praying to the true God, and members of false and heathen religions praying to their false gods. 
Could anything be more contrary to the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi? To place the one true religion of Jesus Christ on the same level with false creeds? 
Regarding non-Christian religions, Sacred Scripture teaches that “all the gods of the nations are devils” (Ps. 45:5). Regarding heretical religions, Saint Paul tells us that false creeds are the “doctrines of devils” (1 Tim. 4:1). Thus, Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition always forbade Catholics to engage in religious camaraderie with false religions (3). 

Saint Francis: Knight of the Church Militant 
Saint Francis of Assisi was firmly committed to the truth that “outside the Catholic Church, there is no salvation.” He was not an apostle of Gaudium et Spes dialogue. He was an apostle of Christ who preached the Gospel, 
1. for the salvation of those souls who were already Catholic, but had fallen away from the Gospel ideal, and 
2. for the salvation of infidels and non-believers, whom he knew would be lost if they did not embrace Christ and His one true Catholic Church. 
His biographer, Fr. Cuthbert, OSFC, wrote in 1916 that Saint Francis was “apt to be impatient with meddlers and heretics to the end” (4). 
In fact, Saint Francis spoke harsh words about those who do not accept Catholic truth. He did not speak in vague terms about the “seeds of truth found in all religions.” Nor did he announce his famous trip to preach to the Moslems as “an invitation to dialogue between the great monotheistic religions in the service of the human family” (5). 
No. He preached the need for conversion of the non-Catholics to the one true Church of Christ for salvation. 
In one of his oldest Admonitiones (“Admonitions”) to the Brothers in his Order, Saint Francis said the following regarding those who do not accept Catholic truth: 
“All, who have seen Jesus in the flesh but have not seen Him after the Spirit and in His Divinity, and have not believed that He was really the Son of God, are doomed. Also those are doomed who see the Sacrament of the Body of Christ, which is consecrated with the words of the Lord on the altar and by the hand of the priest in the form of bread and wine, but do not see in it the Spirit and Divinity and have not believed that it really is Our Lord Jesus Christ’s most holy Body and Blood” (6). 
Thus, those who try to portray Saint Francis of Assisi as an apostle of Vatican II’s new brand of dialogue and ecumenism are simply not telling the truth. Especially since today’s ecumenism, of which the “Spirit of Assisi” is the most radical element, does not seek the conversion of non-Catholics to the one true religion, but only seeks to work together with all religions in a “reconciled diversity” for the “betterment of the human family” (7). There is no sharper contrast to this new, effeminate ecumenism that Saint Francis’ encounter with the Sultan, and his Friars’ missionary zeal among the Muslims. 

Saint Francis vs. Islam 
Around 1219, after a General Chapter of the Order, Saint Francis decided to undertake a mission to the Muhammadans in Egypt, where also there was a Crusade being fought. 
During this time, Francis stayed with the Christian army, and then crossed over to the Moslem lines. Once outside the Christian lines, he was seized by Moslem soldiers. Francis told the soldiers that he wanted to preach Christ to the Sultan, who allowed him into the camp. 




When brought to the Sultan, Francis said, “I am sent by the Most High God, to show you and your people the way of salvation by announcing to you the truths of the Gospel” (8). And when Saint Francis preached, the Sultan felt himself very much drawn to Francis and to the power of his words. So much so, that he invited Francis to stay with him. 
“Willingly,” Francis replied, “if you and your people will be converted to Christ” (9). 
Francis then proposed his famous challenge. He said: “If you yet waver between Christ and Mohammed, order a fire kindled and I will go into it with your priests that you may see which is the true Faith” (10).

The Sultan was not willing to permit this trial by fire, so Francis requested permission to leave. And the Sultan gave orders that Francis be conducted back to his camp with courtesy. 
While this was going on in Egypt, there were five firebrand Franciscan Friars kicking up so much dust in Muslim Morocco that all five of them would be put to death. Their names were Brothers Berardo, Ortho, Pietro, Accurso and Aduto. 
First they went to Spain, to Moslem Seville. And because they tried to preach the Gospel there, they were scourged, imprisoned and expelled from that kingdom. Then they went over to Muslim Morocco in an attempt to convert the infidels. When they arrived, these Friars did more than just preach in the streets. They marched right into a mosque and denounced Mohammed from inside the mosque (11). 
The Friars were seized, imprisoned and scourged, but that did not temper their zeal. While in prison, they tried repeatedly to convert the jailers. 
The rulers of Morocco were trying to find a diplomatic way out of this, so they arranged that these imperious Friars be sent out of the country. 
And how did the five Franciscans respond? Father Cuthbert relates: “But the five Friars knew nothing of diplomacy and had not the temper to live and let live. Mohammed was, in their eyes, the enemy of Christ, and the souls of this people were rightful spoils for their Divine Redeemer. To go back upon their mission would be a traitorous backsliding from their fealty to their Savior” (12). 
At the first opportunity, these wiry Franciscans gave their jail-keepers the slip. Immediately, they returned to the city, and there they were again, in front of the mosque appealing to the infidels to renounce Mohammed and accept Christ. 
They were seized, cast into jail and tortured. While they were on the rack, the jailers promised the Friars that their lives would be spared and they would be given gifts, if they would deny Christ and accept Mohammed. 
The Friars responded by uttering the praises of Our Lord, and urged the torturers to renounce Mohammed and accept Jesus Christ. 
The Muhammadans answered by beheading each Friar, and casting their bodies outside the walls to be the food of dogs. A Portuguese dignitary arranged a stealth operation to have their bodies rescued. They were taken to Portugal, and with great reverence they were laid in the Church of the Canons Regular (Augustinian) in Coimbra. 
Among all the people who flocked to pray to and honor the martyred Franciscans, there was a young Augustinian Canon who was enraptured by the zeal and love of Christ that burned in these Friars. He sought out the local Franciscans and begged to be admitted to the Order. 
That young Augustinian, who became Franciscan, is now known to us as Saint Anthony of Padua, the Miracle Worker, whom Catholics honor with the title the Hammer of Heretics. 
And as for Saint Francis: What did he think of these five Friars who marched into a mosque and denounced Mohammed from within the Muslim’s own holy place? Who urged Moslems for their own salvation not to follow the false prophet, Mohammed? Did Saint Francis organize on the following March 12 a grand apology for the insensitivity of his friars for not understanding that the “Moslems, together with us, worship the same God”? 
No! Francis cried out in a transport of gratitude to Heaven, “Now I can truly say I have five brothers” (13). 
This is the true spirit of Assisi!



1. This short article is an excerpt from a more extensive speech by the author entitled “The Title of Assisi vs. Saint Francis of Assisi.” It is available on cassette for $8 postpaid from Oltyn Library Services, 2316 Delaware Ave, PMB 325, Buffalo, NY 14216.
2. This lecture is also available from Oltyn Library Services.
3. For Scripture references, see Bishop George Hay, CRFN, “Ecumenism Condemned by Sacred Scripture,” Catholic Family News, May 1996 (reprint No. 292, US $1.75). For the finest summary of the Magisterium’s consistent condemnation of ecumenism, consult Pope Pius XI’s 1928 Encyclical Mortalium Animos, “On Fostering True Christian Unity,” Available from Catholic Family News for US $4.25 postpaid.
4. Cuthbert, Life of Saint Francis of Assisi (New York: Longmans, Green and Co., 1916), p. 12.
5. Sadly, this is a direct quote from Pope John Paul II. See “On Pilgrimage to Mt. Sinai,” Origins, March 9, 2000. Regarding John Paul II’s disappointing commitment to ecumenical novelties, Fr. Joseph de Sainte Marie, who was a theologian and loyal son of the Pope, emitted the broken-hearted lament and warning: “In our day, and it is one of the most obvious signs of the extraordinarily abnormal character of the current state of the Church, it is very often the case that the acts of the Holy See demand of us prudence and discernment” (Cited from A propos, Isle of Skye, Scotland, No. 16, 1994, p. 5).
6. Admonitio prima de Corpore Christi (Quaracchi edition, p. 4), quoted in Johannes Jorgensen, St. Francis of Assisi (New York: Longmans, Green and Co., 1912), p. 55.




7. One example among many, Cardinal Walter Kasper, appointed by Pope John Paul II as the Prefect of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, recently said, “Today we no longer understand ecumenism in the sense of a return, by which the others would ‘be converted’ and ‘return to being Catholics.’ This was expressly abandoned at Vatican II” (Adisti, February 26, 2001). English translation quoted from “Where Have They Hidden the Body,” by Christopher Ferrara. See also Iota Unum, chap. 35, where Romano Amerio demonstrates that converting non-Catholics to the one true Church is not the aim of today’s practice of ecumenism.

8. Lives of Saints, “Saint Francis of Assisi” (John J. Crawley & Co., 1954).
9. Cuthbert, Life, p. 280.
10. Lives of Saints, John J. Crawley & Co.
11. Cuthbert, Life, p. 283.

12. Ibid., p. 284.

13. Ibid., p. 285.


The Assisi Interfaith Prayer Scandals – I

April 2002 (Traditionalist)

Where is the line between “I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not have strange god before Me” and the blasphemies of Assisi?

“…some say, what’s wrong with praying for peace? Didn’t Christ our Lord say, “Blessed are the peacemakers”? There is of course nothing wrong with praying for peace. What is wrong is praying for peace together with other religions and/or telling people of other faiths to pray for peace to their own false god(s) because, first, it is sinful to command someone to pray to a false deity, and second, because people of these other religions will not pray for the peace we truly need, namely, the peace of Christ, which is the only true peace there is. By putting Christ on the back burner, and favoring some sort of humanistic, pan-religious peace – as if a truce were more important than Christ! – the Assisi meeting was abominable, blasphemous, idolatrous, and scandalous.”

    It didn’t just happen once in Assisi, it happened twice: October 27, 1986 and January 24, 2002. Pope John Paul II gathered representatives from the different world religions in a communal effort to “pray for peace”- each to their own “god.” This reprehensible pan-religious meeting, entirely unprecedented in the history of the Church, with no Pope before John Paul II ever engaging in such an abomination, is based on the gospel of man and the “ecumania” which has emanated from Vatican II and the Novus Ordo establishment. The Masons must have rejoiced when Assisi I took place in 1986 and now part II just recently a few months ago at the end of January, 2002.

    What is so abominable about the two Assisi meetings and meetings like them? Here are some answers:

—the underlying heretical principle that God hears the prayers of all religions

—the underlying heretical principle that these false religions have the right to worship God in the way they do and believing about Him what they believe

—the pushing aside of Christ and His Truth in order to promote a worldly good – secular peace

—the evil command by the Pope that the people of other religions should go and pray to their false god(s)

—[concerning the Assisi meetings in particular:] the underlying heresy of pacifism, which says that all war and violence is intrinsically wrong

    I am sure there are more underlying facets here, but these are the ones that come to my mind most readily and should suffice to convince any Catholic that what happened at Assisi both times was abominable in the sight of God. If the Holy Father wants true peace, he ought to heed Our Lady of Fatima’s request and consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in union with all the bishops. Alas, it seems the Pope finds it easier to drum up every infidel under the sun rather than asking the world’s Catholic bishops to join him in fulfilling what Our Lady asked for.

    But, some say, what’s wrong with praying for peace? Didn’t Christ our Lord say,“Blessed are the peacemakers”? There is of course nothing wrong with praying for peace. What is wrong is praying for peace together with other religions and/or telling people of other faiths to pray for peace to their own false god(s) because, first, it is sinful to command someone to pray to a false deity, and second, because people of these other religions will not pray for the peace we truly need, namely, the peace of Christ, which is the only true peace there is. By putting Christ on the back burner, and favoring some sort of humanistic, pan-religious peace – as if a truce were more important than Christ! – the Assisi meeting was abominable, blasphemous, idolatrous, and scandalous.

    Let’s face it. Without Christ, there is and can be no true peace. We must be careful to distinguish true peace – which is the living together in harmony and agreement between people – and truce, which is simply the absence of war. Only Christ can give true peace, and such true peace can only exist when everyone adores God the way He wishes to be adored: with all people believing all divinely-revealed truths and worshiping Him in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. In other words, perfect peace exists when all people are Catholic! This is the will of God and it ought to be the will of the Roman Pontiff. Apparently, this is not so. Sad to say, but I feel that John Paul II wishes everyone to live in harmony together, rather than all people becoming Catholic.

    Christ has to reign in our lands and in our hearts. That is true peace. That is what we must pray for, and not some kind of humanistic worldly “peace” that is a truce at best and totally ignores the divine mandate to “teach . . . all nations: baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. [Teach] them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (St. Matthew 28:19-20).



    Father Peter Scott, SSPX, points out the difference between “peace” and peace quite beautifully in his March 1, 2002 letter in the Regina Coeli Report: “This peace [promoted at Assisi] is not the supernatural peace of submission to the reign of Christ the King, but the humanistic peace of ‘solidarity,’ getting on together. Forgetting that if St. Francis was an instrument of peace, it was only because he was such a lover of Christ crucified as to bear his stigmata. . . .” This divine mandate to convert all nations is certainly not observed by an interfaith prayer meeting in which different religions either pray together or each religion prays to its own deity, when there is only One True God who has commanded the Catholic religion. The Assisi meetings gave an unmistakable impression: ‘When it comes to “peace” (their version of peace), all these “religionisms” do not matter; heck, what’s at stake is much more important than what each religion really claims and teaches. Let’s all forget about it for a while and get along.’ Isn’t that the impression we get? In Assisi, the Pope has put a secular, humanistic “peace” over and above Christ Jesus our Lord, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

    Don’t believe me? Wait till you actually read what was said/”prayed” at Assisi. Here’s an excerpt:

“We commit ourselves to proclaiming our firm conviction that violence and terrorism are incompatible with the authentic spirit of religion, and, as we condemn every recourse to violence and war in the name of God or religion, we commit ourselves to doing everything possible to eliminate the root causes of terrorism.” (Read by Rev. Dr. Konrad Raiser in German, available from

    Look at what is being put forth here: an “authentic spirit of religion.” A Mason couldn’t be happier at that expression! This is typical razzmatazz the kind I’ve discussed in the past three installments. There is no authentic spirit of religion other than a true Catholic spirit. But here “religion” as such is being glorified, as if religion had any merit if it is not Catholic. What is objectively pleasing in the eyes of God is the Catholic Faith, and not “religion.” And I am not saying that God may not look favorably upon some individuals of other religions who don’t know better, but rather that all other religion, no matter how sincere and heartfelt, is in error, it is evil (because not fully true and therefore partly a demonic deception, i.e. a product and tool of Satan) and does not have a right to exist. Unlike what John Paul II said not too long ago, we do not have “respect for authentic Islam,” because it is a false religion. We may have respect for certain individual Muslims, but never for the false religion they profess.

    Here is more from the 2002 Assisi interfaith meeting by Bishop Piero Marini with the Holy Father’s blessings:

    “All Christians, in fellowship of faith in the confession of the Holy Trinity, united in the word of salvation and the bond of Holy Baptism, can and must not only bear witness to peace and courageously commit themselves to building a world renewed by forgiveness and love, but they must also pray together, in hearing the one Word, in the intercession of the one Lord Jesus, in the communion of the one Spirit, in the invocation of their one heavenly Father.” (Significance of the Christian Celebration, No. 3, from

    This is outrageous! There is enough controversy about whether it is even permitted to pray with Protestants – but the mere permission is obviously no longer enough for the Novus Ordo church. Now we are obliged to pray with them! Over my dead body will I admit that a Catholic is obliged in conscience to pray with someone not his own faith!

    To see just how awful the Assisi 2002 meeting was, I encourage you to look at the photo gallery of the event at the Vatican’s web site, e.g.

    But I must warn you! This will shock you if you are a Catholic. You see, what actually happened was some of the rooms at that the Sacred Convent of St. Francis were cleared of all Roman Catholic items (e.g. statues, crucifixes, Rosaries, etc.) in order to host the infidels in there that set up their own things in order to offer their abominable sacrifices to their false deities. Don’t believe me? Here is how the rooms were arranged:

Room A    Islam

Room B    Buddhism

Room C    Sikhism

Room D    Traditional African Religions

Room E    Hinduism

Room F    Tenriko

Room G    Shintoism

Room H    Judaism

Room I    Zoroastrianism, Jainism and Confucianism

    Just what these folks practiced in those rooms you can see by visiting the photo gallery of the Vatican web site at

    Doesn’t this turn your guts? It surely should. “Traditional African religions”- doesn’t that include Voodoo? Gosh, I don’t even want to find out. That this whole meeting was one big scandal to the Catholic Church of immeasurable proportions is clear. That is something John Paul II ought to apologize for.

    Much more to come on this topic, but I’m running out of space. I strongly encourage you to get the book Peter, Lovest Thou Me? by Abbe Daniel Le Roux, available from Angelus Press (1-800-966-7337). It contains detailed information about the first Assisi event in 1986 and looks quite critically at the phenomenon of Pope John Paul II. It includes many photographs, statistics, and other resources.

    The scandals are not exclusively with the sexual abuse accusations so prevalent in the media today. If only conservatives who chant “John Paul II, we love you!” could see the scandal caused by Assisi. I’m sorry I have to lay bare the facts about Assisi during Easter week of all weeks, but such is the nature of the current crisis in our holy Church. I’ll pick up here next week. God bless.




ASSISI, January 24, 2002


ASSISI, January 24, 2002 (EXTRACTS)




What Does the Pope-Theologian Teach? First of All, the Truth

By Sandro Magister,
ROMA, February 23, 2006




It can be gathered from this that being the head of a Vatican office does not automatically clear the way to becoming a cardinal. It seems likely that with Benedict XVI, the purple will be associated, in the curia, with a few important dicasteries. And that some offices will be scaled down, or even suppressed.
Another of the candidates for the purple predicted by the media, Michael Fitzgerald, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, not only was not designated a cardinal, but was removed from his office and sent to Egypt as a nuncio.
The decision was made public on February 15, and came as a surprise even to Fitzgerald himself. In reality, Fitzgerald’s promotion as a cardinal was entirely unlikely, given the strong disagreement between him and Benedict XVI on crucial topics in the dialogue among religions, and in particular between Christianity and Islam. Fitzgerald is a convinced representative of the “spirit of Assisi” of which Ratzinger has always been critical.

Assisi inter-religious assembly marks 20th anniversary

By John L. Allen Jr., September 8, 2006 (Liberal)

All manner of seekers, Christian and not, have felt the tug of a pilgrimage to the birthplace of St. Francis in Assisi. Even by that eclectic standard, however, the group that assembled on October 27, 1986, at the invitation of Pope John Paul II, was unique. It included rabbis in yamulkes and Sikhs in turbans, Muslims praying on thick carpets and a Zoroastrian kindling a sacred fire. Robert Runcie, the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, exchanged pleasantries with the Dalai Lama, while Orthodox bishops with flowing beards chatted with Alan Boesak, the South African anti-apartheid activist and president of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches.

The more than 200 religious leaders had not come to “pray together” — that would be theologically problematic, since, according to Vatican officials, joint prayer presupposes agreement on the nature of the God being addressed — but “to be together and pray.”

In the context of the Cold War, the summit was a dramatic bit of symbolism in favor of peace. It was not, however, universally popular.

Traditionalist followers of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre distributed flyers denouncing John Paul as an apostate for allegedly putting Catholicism on the same level as other religions. Two years later, when Lefebvre went into schism, he said he was acting to protect Catholicism from the “spirit of Vatican II and the spirit of Assisi.” Fundamentalist U.S. Protestant Carl McIntire amplified Lefebvre by calling the Assisi gathering the “greatest single abomination in church history.”

John Paul later called two other inter-religious summits in Assisi, in 1993 and 2002.

Concerns were even voiced from within the pope’s own fold. Then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, at the time the Vatican’s doctrinal czar, was quoted in the Austrian press as stating, “This cannot be the model.” a 2003 book, Ratzinger wrote that it is “indisputable that the Assisi meetings, especially in 1986, were misinterpreted by many people.”

Flash forward to last Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 4-5, once again in Assisi, for the latest inter-religious assembly organized by the Community of Sant’Egidio, this one marking the 20th anniversary of John Paul’s initiative. It brought together more than 150 religious leaders from around the world. Since 1986, Sant’Egidio has held an annual inter-faith event, always appealing to “the spirit of Assisi.”

During this year’s edition, dozens of Muslims, Shintoists, Buddhists, and others spread out across Assisi to pray in various locations, and later came together for an evening procession for peace. The Shintoists, for example, used the garden of a Franciscan convent for their rituals.

If the “spirit of Assisi” lives, so do the new pope’s concerns surrounding such inter-faith events.

Benedict XVI’s message began with a ringing endorsement of John Paul’s 1986 summit.

“His invitation for a choral witness to peace served to clarify, without any possibility of misunderstanding, that religion can only be a source of peace,” Benedict said. “We need this ‘education to peace’ more than ever, especially looking at the new generations.”

At the same time, Benedict reiterated the need for clear borders.

“It’s important not to forget the attention that was given [in 1986] to ensuring that an inter-religious meeting not lend itself to syncretistic interpretations, founded on a relativistic conception,” the pope said.

“It’s obligatory to avoid inopportune confusions. When we come together for prayer for peace, the prayer must unfold according to the distinct paths that pertain to the various religions,” Benedict said. “The convergence of diverse representatives should not give the impression of a concession to that relativism which negates the very meaning of truth, and the possibility of taking it in.”

Benedict noted that 2006 is also the 800th anniversary of the conversion of St. Francis, and said that despite the universal appeal of Francis, he was grounded in an unswerving Christian faith.

“It’s important to remember, in order not to betray his message, that it was his radical choice for Christ that gave him the key to understand the fraternity to which all persons are called, and in which even inanimate creatures — from ‘brother son’ to ‘sister moon’ — in some sense also participate,” the pope said.

Andrea Riccardi, the founder of Sant’Egidio, was asked at a Sept. 5 press conference if Benedict was “suffocating the spirit of Assisi while preserving its letter.” In reply, Riccardi said he’s been around the block on the issue of inter-religious dialogue for more than twenty years.




“I think I understand the logic of messages and texts from the church on the subject,” Riccardi said. “When I defend what the pope said, it’s not merely because I’m obliged to defend it. Relativism was a concern not just of Benedict but also of John Paul II.”

Riccardi pointed out that Ratzinger had attended the 2002 event. On that day, participants were transported from Rome to Assisi on the rarely-used papal train (dubbed by the Italian press the “peace train.”) Riccardi said he spoke with Ratzinger on the train back to Rome, and that Ratzinger said the summit “had gone very well, he was very happy with it.”

“I would rather say that Ratzinger the theologian is reformulating the spirit of Assisi,” Riccardi said of Benedict’s message for the Sant’Egidio event, and his general approach to exchanges with other religions.

Benedict still wants conversation with other religions, but also greater safeguards against the dangers of religious relativism, Ricardi suggested.

“The pope knows we have to dialogue,” Riccardi said, pointing especially to Benedict’s desire for exchanges with Muslims.

* * *

Prior to his election as pope, Joseph Ratzinger treated the issue of prayer with other religions in the 2003 book Truth and Tolerance. Ratzinger said it would be wrong to reject such prayer “completely and unconditionally”. He distinguished between “multi-religious” prayer, when followers of different religions pray in the same context but separately, and “inter-religious” prayer, when they pray together.

For the former, he said, two conditions have to be met:

—“Such multi-religious prayer cannot be the normal form of religious life, but can only exist as a sign in unusual situations in which, as it were, a common cry for help rises up, stirring the hearts of men, to stir also the heart of God.”

—“A careful explanation of what happens here and what does not happen is most important … [it] must make clear that there is no such thing as a common concept of God or belief in God … What is happening must be so clear in itself, and to the world, that it does not become a demonstration of that relativism through which it would nullify its own significance.”

As for inter-religious prayer, Ratzinger expressed strong doubt that it’s theologically possible.

In the first place, he said, we would have to have the same concept of God — “any confusion of a personal and an impersonal understanding, of God and the gods, must be excluded.” Second, there would have to be agreement on the content of prayer, and here Ratzinger suggested the Lord’s Prayer as a model. Finally, the whole thing would have to be arranged so as to make a “relativistic misinterpretation” impossible.

* * *

It’s worth noting that in the same essay, Ratzinger strongly criticized a 1998 document on inter-religious prayer from the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, which was based on a July 1996 consultation in Bangalore, India, between the Vatican and the World Council of Churches.

That document, Ratzinger wrote, argued for inter-religious prayer under the heading of hospitality. Since Jesus urged Christians to receive hospitality from others, the document stated, we should also receive what is most precious to our neighbor, i.e., prayer and worship.

Anyone familiar with the New Testament, Ratzinger wrote, “can only rub his eyes in amazement at such an exegesis.”

He quotes Luke 10:1-12, when Jesus sent out the 70 disciples, telling them to shake the dust of a town from their feet if it does not receive them. Refusal to receive the message, in other words, marks a clear break with the obligations of hospitality. To treat this passage as an invitation to shared prayer, Ratzinger said, “has nothing further in common with the Biblical text,” and he adds that “we should be able to expect a little more by way of serious argument.

Overall, Ratzinger said the Bangalore document left him with “an unfortunate impression of superficiality and dilettantism.”

Generally speaking, the head of one Vatican office does not criticize the work of another in public in quite so pointed a fashion. This is worth recalling, given that the Vatican official responsible for the Bangalore document was then-Monsignor Michael Fitzgerald, later promoted to archbishop when he took over from Cardinal Francis Arinze as president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue in 2002.

In February, Fitzgerald was removed from that job and sent to Cairo as the papal nuncio. Perhaps this is part of what Riccardi had in mind when he said Benedict is “reformulating” the “spirit of Assisi.”

* * *

At the end of the Sept. 4-5 event, participants issued a joint appeal for peace.

“No conflict is a matter of fate, and no war is ever natural,” it said. “Religions never justify hatred and violence. Those using the name of God to destroy others move away from true religion.”

At the Sept. 5 news conference, Riccardi was asked about “reciprocity,” meaning the insistence that majority Muslim states show the same respect for human rights and religious liberty as Muslim immigrants demand in Western nations.

Riccardi said he regards reciprocity as “a terrific thing,” and said he believes European governments could press harder for reciprocity from Saudi Arabia.

At the same time, Riccardi said he is mindful of something an African bishop once told him.

“If God were to practice reciprocity with us,” Riccardi recalled the bishop saying, “then we’d all go straight to Hell.”

Riccardi announced that next year’s inter-faith meeting will be held in Naples, and will have a Mediterranean focus. He said that the idea of holding a Sant’Egidio conference in an Islamic nation such as Turkey, Morocco or Syria has come up, but each presents its own difficulties. In Syria, he said, Sant’Egidio would not be able to invite Jewish and Israeli participants.

Riccardi said Sant’Egidio has also considered holding one of its meetings in an African nation such as Mozambique, but doing so presents “enormous technical and financial problems.”




Benedict XVI Has Become a Franciscan

By Sandro Magister, Roma, September 11, 2006

A true Franciscan. Against all the environmentalist, pacifist, and syncretistic distortions. Rebuilding the Church was the task Jesus assigned to the saint of Assisi. The pope has made him his own, and is re-proposing him as a model for today.
In the span of just a few days, Benedict XVI has turned twice to the figure of Saint Francis of Assisi. He did so on August 31, speaking to the priests of the diocese of Albano, whom he received at the pontifical residence of Castel Gandolfo. He did so on September 4, sending a message to the bishop of Assisi, Domenico Sorrentino, on the occasion of the eighth centenary of the saint’s conversion.
The pope said about Saint Francis to the priests of Albano: […]
And in the message to the bishop of Assisi, he continued his reflection as follows, taking as his point of departure the interreligious meeting for peace held by Karol Wojtyla twenty years earlier, in 1986, in the city of Saint Francis: […]

Restorations also underway for the interreligious meetings

Apart from Saint Francis, Benedict XVI’s message to the bishop of Assisi – dated September 2 and released on the 4th – also dwells upon the interreligious meeting for peace held by John Paul II in Assisi twenty years ago, on October 27, 1986.
He did this in part to dispel the “misunderstandings,” “confusion,” and “concessions” born from that meeting and its later recurrences. The latest of these meetings, organized by the Community of Sant’Egidio, was held in Assisi last September 4-5. The bishop of Assisi had invited Benedict XVI to participate. But the pope had declined: “I intend to visit the city of Saint Francis, but not on this occasion.”
Ratzinger’s reservations over the abuses connected to the interreligious meetings inaugurated by pope Wojtyla had been known for some time, and he made them explicit in this message.

But it is interesting that, in criticizing the abuses (my comments on page 1 –Michael), Benedict XVI uses statements made by John Paul II himself, who was already raising his guard against concessions to syncretism and relativism.
Here is the “ad hoc” passage from the message:
“In order not to misunderstand the meaning of what John Paul II wanted to accomplish in 1986, and what, in his own words, is described as the ‘spirit of Assisi’, it is important not to forget the attention that was paid at that time to prevent the interreligious prayer meeting from being subjected to syncretistic interpretations founded upon a relativistic conception. Precisely for this reason, from the very outset John Paul II stated: ‘The fact that we have come here does not imply any intention to seek out religious consensus among ourselves, or to negotiate over the convictions of our faith. Nor does it mean that the religions can be reconciled at the level of a shared commitment to an earthly project extending over all of them. Nor is it a concession to relativism in regard to religious beliefs…’ (Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, 1986, vol. II, p.1252). I want to restate this principle, which constitutes the prerequisite for the dialogue among religions that Vatican Council II called for in the declaration on the Church’s relations with non-Christian religions (cf. “Nostra Aetate,” 2).

I gladly take this occasion to greet the representatives of the other religions who will take part in one or another of the commemorations in Assisi. As do we Christians, they also know that in prayer it is possible to have a special experience of God, and to take from this effective encouragement in the dedication to the cause of peace.
It is nonetheless obligatory, even in this, to avoid inopportune confusion. For this reason, even when we gather together to pray for peace, this prayer must be carried out according to the distinct approach that is proper to each of the various religions. This was the decision in 1986, and this decision cannot but remain valid today as well. The coming together of those who are different must not
give the impression of a concession to that relativism that denies the very meaning of truth and the possibility of attaining it.”


Report on Interreligious Youth Meeting at Assisi
“Prayer Does Not Divide But Unites”

Vatican City, November 18, 2006

Here is the report on the interreligious youth meeting to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi. The commemorative event was held recently in Assisi.

Monsignor Felix Machado, undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, wrote the report.

The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID), in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, organized an International Interreligious Youth Meeting in Assisi from Nov. 4-8, 2006, in order to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Day of Prayer for Peace which took place on Oct. 27, 1986, in Assisi.

The goal of the meeting was to pass on to the young generation the “spirit of Assisi” which the Servant of God Pope John Paul II, launched on Oct. 27. The PCID invited about 100 youth from different religious traditions throughout the world; nearly 50 young people represented the Christians and the rest came from other religious traditions.

The program was designed to make the youth discover the “spirit of Assisi” which had prayer for peace at its center; in this way the youth would testify to the truth that “prayer does not divide but unites and is a decisive element for an effective pedagogy of peace, hinged on friendship, reciprocal acceptance and dialogue between different cultures and religions” as Pope Benedict XVI wrote in his message for the 20th anniversary of the first Assisi meeting (Sept. 2, 2006).

The response from the various communities and organizations of different religions to the invitations which were sent by H.E. Cardinal Paul Poupard, president, had been overwhelming and encouraging. In fact, leaders from other religions sponsored their respective representatives to the Youth Meeting and contributed to their travel expenses.




The PCID looked after the participants during the meeting. About 45 youth from 29 countries and belonging to Hindu, Taoist, Buddhist, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Zoroastrian, Sikh, Bahai, Tenrikyo and Brahma Kumari traditions came to Assisi and formed themselves as a family for four days.

Plenary sessions, group and panel discussions and walking pilgrimage to San Damiano and Rivotorto in Assisi had been some of the highlights of the program during the Youth Meeting. The youth were able to taste the Franciscan hospitality and imbibe the sacred atmosphere of Assisi, the city of St Francis and St Clare. The youth were put up in different Franciscan houses in Assisi.

Separate rooms in the Sacro Convento in Assisi were kept at the disposal of the youth of different religions in order for them to spend quiet time in prayer and meditation according to their respective traditions. The participants were welcomed to have their meals in the common refectory by the Friars of the Sacro Convento. The meals were served respecting the traditional religious customs of different religions which were represented at the Youth Meeting.

The Christian participants from around the world formed half of the total number of youth who were present in Assisi: 35 Catholics and 16 representatives of other Christian Churches and communities. The deliberations were conducted in Italian, French and English languages, making available simultaneous translations to the participants. The young Catholics participated in the Holy Mass which was celebrated on Sunday by H.E. Cardinal [Roger] Etchegaray. On the other days H.E. Cardinal Poupard and H.E. [Archbishop Pier Luigi] Celata celebrated the holy Masses for the Catholic youth.

H.E. Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino, bishop of Assisi-Nocera Umbra-Gualdo Tadino, joined the opening session on Nov. 5 and formally extended his greetings to the assembly. H.E. Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, secretary, Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, welcomed the participants and followed the deliberations throughout the entire meeting. Father Vincenzo Coli, Custode, Sacro Convento, also greeted the participants. H.E. Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, chief organizer of the Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi in 1986, delivered the keynote address, “Impact of Assisi 1986.”

The “spirit of Assisi” has been kept alive by various groups, such as the Community of Sant’Egidio, Tendai Buddhists in Japan, Communion and Liberation, and the Focolare Movement. A representative each from these above-mentioned groups shared with the participants their experiences of the past 20 years. Father Coli also enlightened the participants by introducing them to the Franciscan spirituality.

The youth walked in the spirit of religious pilgrimage from the Basilica of St. Francis to Rivotorto, where St. Francis lived most of his life. On their way to Rivotorto, at the ancient Church of San Damiano, a young Franciscan friar guided the youth in reflection on the conversion of St Francis. At Rivitorto likewise a young Franciscan sister led the youth in meditation on St. Francis’ resolve to serve the poor.

On Nov. 6 Kathryn Lohre, representing the World Council of Churches, Geneva, addressed the youth participants on “Upholding Common Values and Respecting the Differences.” Ms. Lohre from the Lutheran tradition also took part in a panel discussion which was held on Nov. 7. A Muslim, a Buddhist, a Jew and a Catholic joined the panel discussion which was presided over by H.E. Cardinal Paul Poupard and moderated by Father Felix Machado. Cardinal Poupard also addressed the youth on Nov. 7. In his address he made the youth aware of the present situation of interreligious relations, taking into account some difficulties but above all encouraging the youth to live in hope for future by themselves becoming active protagonists of interreligious collaboration in order to establish harmony in society and peace in the world.

The youth were not passive listeners during the whole meeting. They were encouraged to actively forge bonds of friendship so that upon their return they themselves become active protagonists of peace in their own communities and societies. Creative sessions of interactions had been included in the program. The youth decided to send out a “Message from the Youth to the Youth” as an expression of their hope for a world of harmony and peace; the message was jointly formulated by seven youth participants who represented different religious traditions; they declared it as a conclusion of the meeting.

In the spirit of commitment and with joy and enthusiasm in their hearts, the youth wrote: “We appeal to all people that peace is not something only to be sought in halls of government, but also in the halls of our synagogues, our churches, our mosques, our temples, our pagodas, our gurudwaras, our atash berhams, our schools, our work places, our homes and most importantly in our hearts. We will strive to follow the path of peace, guided by the precepts of our respective religious traditions. In the ‘spirit of Assisi’ and with a united voice, we echo the words of that great ambassador of peace, the Servant of God Pope John Paul II, as we cry out: ‘Violence never again! War never again! Terrorism never again! In the name of God, may every religion bring upon the earth Justice and Peace, Forgiveness and Life, Love!'”

The Assisi Youth Meeting concluded in Rome on Nov. 8 when the participants joined the large assembly of 30,000 pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square. It was the general audience of the Holy Father. Explaining the deeper meaning of the Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi, Pope Benedict XVI had written to Bishop Sorrentino on Sept. 2, 2006: “We are in greater need of this dialogue than ever, especially if we look at the new generations. Sentiments of hatred and vengeance have been inculcated in numerous young people in those parts of the world marked by conflicts, in ideological contexts where the seeds of ancient resentment are cultivated and their souls prepared for future violence. These barriers must be torn down and encounter must be encouraged. I am glad, therefore, that the initiatives planned in Assisi this year are along these lines and, in particular, that the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue has had the idea of applying them in a special way for young people.”

Addressing the youth who gathered in Assisi from Nov. 4-7, 2006, and who had come to participate in the general audience on Nov. 8, 2006, the Holy Father said: “I am pleased to greet the young people of different nations and religious traditions who recently gathered in Assisi to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Interreligious Meeting of Prayer for Peace desired by my predecessor, Pope John Paul II.




I thank the various religious leaders who enabled them to take part in this event, and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue which organized it. Dear young friends: our world urgently needs peace! “The Assisi meeting emphasized the power of prayer in building peace. Genuine prayer transforms hearts, opens us to dialogue, understanding and reconciliation, and breaks down the walls erected by violence, hatred and revenge. May you now return to your own religious communities as witnesses to the ‘spirit of Assisi,’ messengers of that peace which is God’s gracious gift, and living signs of hope for our world.”


Spirit of Assisi Is Not Syncretism, Affirms Pope –
Says It Is “Evangelical” to Unite Acceptance and Faith

Assisi, Italy, June 18, 2007

Benedict XVI clarified that the spirit of peace among religions promoted by St. Francis and Pope John Paul II is not religious syncretism. This was one of the main messages during the German Pope’s pilgrimage on Sunday to the city of the saint. The pilgrimage marked the 800th anniversary of Francis’ conversion.
“I cannot forget, in the context of today’s celebration, the initiative of my predecessor of holy memory, John Paul II, who in 1986, brought together here the representatives of the Christian churches and other religions of the world, for a meeting of prayer for peace,” said Benedict XVI at the end of his homily during the Mass celebrated in the lower square outside the Basilica of St. Francis.
He continued: “It was a prophetic intuition and a moment of grace, as I mentioned a few months ago in my letter to the bishop of this city on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of that event.
“The decision to celebrate that meeting in Assisi was inspired by the witness of Francis as a man of peace, who is looked upon with admiration, even by those of other cultures and religions.
“At the same time, the light of the poor man of Assisi which shone upon that event was a guarantee of its Christian authenticity, given that his life and his message clearly show his choice for Christ, refuting a priori any temptation to religious indifference, which has nothing to do with authentic interreligious dialogue.”
Benedict XVI said that the “spirit of Assisi” continues to spread throughout the world since the 1986 event. He called it a spirit “in opposition to the spirit of violence, the abuse of religion as a pretext for violence.”
The Pope added: “Assisi tells us that faithfulness to one’s own religious conviction, faithfulness above all to Christ crucified and risen, is not expressed in violence and intolerance, but in sincere respect for the other, in dialogue, in a message that calls out for freedom and reason, in working for peace and for reconciliation.
“It would not be evangelical, nor Franciscan, to be unable to unite acceptance, dialogue and respect for all with the certainty of faith which each Christian, like the saint of Assisi, is called to cultivate, proclaiming Christ as the way, truth and life of mankind, the one and only savior of the world.”


The Archdiocese of BombayArchdiocesan Inter-religious Celebration of Christmas

The Examiner, January 5, 2008

By Fr Gilbert de Lima, Professor of Theology, St Pius X College and Seminary, Goregaon, Mumbai, and member of the Committee for Inter-religious Dialogue

On October 21, 2007 Pope Benedict XVI in his Discourse to the heads of World Religions who had gathered at Naples for the 21st Inter-Religious Meeting on the theme: ‘For a world without violence – Religions and cultures in dialogue”, pertinently declared: “While respecting the differences of the various religions, we are all called to work for peace and to be effectively committed to furthering reconciliation among peoples. This is the true spirit of Assisi… Religions can and must offer precious resources to build a peaceful humanity… The Catholic Church intends to continue on the path of dialogue in order to encourage understanding between the different cultures, traditions and forms of religious wisdom. I warmly hope that this spirit will spread increasingly…”

It was in this same spirit that the Inter-Religious Dialogue Commission of the Archdiocese of Bombay organized the Annual Christmas Inter-Religious Get-Together on December 23, at the Holy Name High School auditorium.

Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay played host to about 130 invitees from different religious traditions as well as members from the Catholic community…

Soon after, there was a meaningful prayer service… A reading from the Gospel of St Luke which described the birth of the baby Jesus was followed by the cry from the Upanishads: “Lead me from the unreal to the real. Lead me from darkness to light. Lead me from death to immortality. May there be peace everywhere.”

Cardinal Gracias then lit the ceremonial ‘Samayi’. This was followed by the ‘ritual of lighting the light’… After this the Christmas Story was presented in Bharatnatyam and Odissi. The story of the ‘Annunciation to Mary and the Magnificat was danced by Raul D’Souza in Bharatnatyam. ‘Tarana’ (‘celebration’), a fusion of Bharatnatyam and Odissi was performed by both Raul and Mithali D’Souza…

The guest speakers representing four religious traditions presented their messages. Swami Amartyananda spoke on behalf of the Ramakrishna Mission…


Facts about John Paul II’s apostasy from Christ and from the saving faith
Ukraine Orthodox Greek Catholic Church … … …



The spirit of Assisi

Ukraine Orthodox Greek Catholic Church, March 14, 2010

His Holiness Benedict XVI

Città del Vaticano

Your Holiness,

We send You a series of documentary photographs and statements witnessing to the so-called mission of John Paul II, which opened the Church to the spirit of paganism, the spirit of New Age and the spirit of apostasy. For this great offence and crime against the Church this Pope should be posthumously excommunicated and not beatified. Openness to apostasy through paganism began with the Nostra Aetate declaration of the Second Vatican Council (1965). All propagators of a “new gospel”, especially within the Church, constantly appeal to this declaration.

Let us put an essential question: Did the Second Vatican Council open the door to syncretism with paganism through this declaration? The fruit gives the answer: Yes, it did. In such case the whole Council is false in that it stood against the two-thousand-year-old Tradition of the Catholic Church and against the essence of the Holy Scripture. If we want to save the Christian doctrine of the infallibility of the Council, it must be authoritatively proved and declared that this declaration was misused through inaccurate formulations. Unfortunately, Pope John Paul II confirmed the misinterpretation of the Nostra Aetate declaration by his deeds. The culmination was the apostatical gesture in Assisi in the years 1986 and 2002. That it was no isolated error is also confirmed by the gestures which preceded and followed ‘the Assisi event’ and thus brought the whole Church to confusion. This apostatical spirit has spread throughout the world and has not spared even the monasteries. Instead of witnessing to Jesus, the only Saviour, and saving the souls from eternal perdition through conversion and repentance there has been an opposite path marked out – a path of apostasy! The fruit of this apostasy within the Church is the spread of demoralization through homosexuality and paedophilia, which has affected even the key positions. This spirit of apostasy has caused desecration of the whole Church. This is not a question of isolated cases but of a whole stream which nowadays is no longer tolerated only but even preferred. And that is a tragedy. Who is most responsible for it is Pope John Paul II. The adherents of syncretism along with liberal theologians are exerting extremely great pressures in order to achieve canonization of John Paul II as soon as possible at any cost! What aim are they pursuing? His canonization will in essence be confirmation of an apostatical line which he introduced in the Church through his bad example. This beatification and canonization will be a gesture which will deny the very essence of the Church and no longer allow true biblical repentance. And that is a crime because this path ends in hell.

Throughout the history of the Old-Testament Church God punished the chosen people for spiritual adultery, i.e. syncretism with other religions. This is the principal line of the whole Holy Scripture, because it concerns the essence of the faith. Man either opens his heart to true God or worships creatures and demons. The same critical attitude towards idolatry is in the New Testament too. This basic necessity of a true relationship to God has also been emphasized by the whole Christian tradition for 2000 years.

The present-day Church is to blame most for moral decay of Europe, America as well as of other nations. The responsibility for the laws of homo-sexuality in the European Union falls on the apostatical Catholic hierarchy. Therefore at the present time God demands from us the most elementary thing: repentance. The Church must turn away from false reverence for idolatry and from the spirit of unbelief connected with so-called historical-critical theology. The Church nowadays is obliged to repent, that means to concentrate all her efforts on the essence – conversion and the following of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Your Holiness, in case You let Yourself be manipulated by the great pressure which is being brought to bear upon You and unless You cancel the planned beatification, the punishment of God’s excommunication will fall upon You too for unity with another gospel (cf. Gal 1:8-9). Thus, publicly before the whole Church, You will separate from Christ, excommunicate Yourself from the Church and fall under God’s curse. Supposing You died in this state of impenitence, You would be eternally condemned. Realize that You are 83 years old, and the Church is looking at You with great hope that You will start that which is most important – the internal renewal of the Catholic Church. The first step to this must be cancellation of the planned beatification and on the other hand, public repentance for the gesture of Assisi as well as for all offence caused by John Paul II. This is what God, and also the bleeding Church, demand of You today.

Documentary part and the final letter to follow. Download The spirit of Assisi:


The spirit of Assisi



I. Preparation for Assisi













John Paul II embracing the Dalai Lama

On 3rd May 1984, John Paul II said: “Your ancestors embraced such overwhelming spiritual worlds as Confucianism and Buddhism. They enhanced them, lived them and even transmitted them to others.”

Jesus commanded: “Preach the Gospel to all nations…” (Mk 16:15; Mt 28:19) “He who believes will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” (Mk 16:16) By his gesture of friend-ship with the Dalai Lama the Pope set a bad example not only to hierarchs but also to politicians of the so-called Christian nations. As a result, nowadays the Dalai Lama enjoys the greatest popularity throughout the world, which, however, causes grave harm to Christianity! The Dalai Lama considers himself an incarnation of a deity (demon). We ask what harmony of spiritual worlds there is between Christ and Belial (cf. 2 Corinthians 6:15). The Dalai Lama propagates the spirit of New Age – false unity of all religions. If any Christian apologist will now defend the true faith, he will be punished by the hierarchy for going against the line of John Paul II.

On 6th May 1984, the Pope said: “May I address a particular greeting to the members of the Buddhist tradition as they prepare to celebrate the festivity of the Coming of the Lord Buddha? May your rejoicing be complete and your joy fulfilled.” (L’Osservatore Romano, 14th May 1984, pg. 7)

The way of Buddha is idolatry and the Pope supports it – this is a crime!












John Paul II in the Buddhist temple

John Paul II went into the temple and bowed to the Buddhist Patriarch.

In his second Asian journey in 1984, John Paul II visited the Buddhist Temple. Before reaching the Temple, he expressed how anxious he was to meet “His Holiness, the supreme Buddhist Patriarch in the Temple”. The Holy Scripture says that “what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God”! (1 Corinthians 10:20) What was the sense of the Pope’s visit to a place where one consciously worships demons? Paying respect to idolaters dishonours Christ and offends the little ones.

The Council of Elvira, A.D. 305, decreed that “those who in adult age after receiving Baptism shall go into the pagan temples to worship idols (i.e. respect for pagan religions), which is a deadly crime and the height of wickedness, shall not be admitted to communion even at death.

Unfortunately, John Paul II’s attitude towards paganism and pagans is diametrically different from the attitude of the Holy Scripture and of the whole Christian tradition. Who is mistaken? Whom are we to obey and follow? The Pope betrayed Christ and the Gospel! He says that non-Christian religions are other ways which also lead to salvation, to one god and one father! To state that pagan religions are ways to salvation is a heresy. The Church teaches that even a pagan who seeks the truth sincerely can be saved. This, however, is completely different from the statement that the pagan religious system leads to salvation. On the contrary, this system is an obstacle to salvation because it kills God’s voice – conscience – in the pagan. This happens through Oriental meditations and mantras (the invoking of demons).


On 8th August 1985, John Paul II prayed with African Animists
(witch doctors).

John Paul II recalled the meeting: “Particularly noteworthy was the prayer meeting at the sanctuary of Our Lady of Mercy at Lake Togo where, for the first time, I also prayed with a group of Animists.” (L’Osservatore Romano, 26th August 1985, pg. 9)

(While in Togo he paid homage to the sacred snakes.)














If we should follow the Pope, we shall end up in hell along with the witch doctors: “Those who practise witchcraft and idol worshippers – their doom is in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur.” (Rev 21:8)


















John Paul II receives the mark of the god Shiva

On 2nd February 1986 (the feast of the Presentation of the Lord), the Pope received on his forehead a sign of apostasy – the mark of the Hindu god Shiva – from a pagan priestess (sacral prostitute). This is public apostasy and offence given to all Christians. The soul of a Christian is a temple of the living God. Through pagan rituals, however, it becomes a dwelling place of demons and their property. The Apostle Peter, the first Pope, said: “There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) It is obvious that the first Pope admits no alter-native ways of salvation. That is not only his personal opinion but it is the attitude of the Holy Scripture and of the whole Tradition of the Apostles, Church Fathers and saints. So no one can be saved through the faith in the god Shiva or Rama.
“What pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God.” (1 Corinthians 10:20) Through this public gesture John Paul II fell away from the true faith, denied the whole Scripture and the whole Church Tradition and opened the door for demons to enter the Church. He discredited all mission and missionaries as well as the essence of whole Christianity. He thus let himself be dedicated to Satan. Having committed this act as Head of the Catholic Church, he allowed demons to hold sway over the whole Catholic Church. It is a flagrant crime. And now he is to be beatified and canonized for this?













A priestess of the god Shiva (temple prostitute) places a magic wreath round the Pope’s neck.

By this gesture the Pope voluntarily subjects himself to the rule of demons. This is no indifferent thing, for one opens up to demons through a ritual.












The Pope wearing a magic wreath, surrounded by pagan priestesses, serves idols. He caused offence to all Christians.


1986, India: John Paul II venerated Gandhi













In March of 1986, John Paul II went to New Delhi, India, the place where the Hindu Mahatma Gandhi was incinerated.

John Paul II took off his shoes before Gandhi’s monument and stated: “Today as a pilgrim of peace, I have come here to pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi, hero of humanity. Mahatma Gandhi teaches that it is possible to establish a new world order… May Mahatma Gandhi live forever!”

(Quoted in Abbe Daniel Le Roux, Peter, Lovest Thou Me?, Angelus Press, 1988, pg. 147)

Gandhi is no hero of humanity; however, as for the new world order, he is the father of New Age.

John Paul II visits the place of his incineration, throws flowers on his monument, pays homage to this anti-prophet and representative of New Age and learns from him. He thus manifests clearly that his attitude is an attitude of betrayal and apostasy from the Gospel! If Gandhi lives forever, it certainly is not in heaven but, in conformity with his obstinate rejection of the Gospel, in hell!

In fact, the Pope preaches that there is no salvation in Christ, as he says that he has found answers to the essential questions in the works of the Hindu Mahatma Gandhi: “I studied the works and efforts of Mahatma Gandhi and I found answers for me, answers for Christians everywhere, important answers. India has so much contributed to the world’s understanding of man and meaning of his existence.” A Christian finds the life’s answers in the Holy Scripture and in the lives of saints. If John Paul II found the life’s answers not in the Scripture and Tradition but in the works of the idolater Gandhi, it testifies to his inward apostasy. No saint or true Christian has ever found or will ever find true answers concerning salvation and meaning of life either in Gandhi or in the pagan system of Hindu India. These answers can be found only in Christ.

An address by John Paul II (India 1986): “God is present in the very heart of human cultures, because He is present in man.” The Pope’s words are relativist, so they can be understood as a heresy. God is present to man because He is the Creator. So is He present to all His works too; however, unless we give a precise definition to this statement, we fall into the heresy of pantheism. God is really present in man through grace, so this person can truly say: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” (Gal 2:20) However, He is not present in this way in the pagans or in the people who are in a state of mortal sin, heresy or unbelief. It is necessary to distinguish between pagan culture and Christian culture. Behind pagan culture is the spirit of lie and death and behind the Christian tradition is the spirit of truth and life.

Therefore the Pope’s statements are confusing or downright heretical.


John Paul II awarded by Freemasons











On 22nd March 1982, John Paul II received the B’nai B’rith (Freemasonic Lodge of New York). Soon afterwards, this Pope re-moved from the Code of Canon Law (CIC) the penalty of a latae sententiae excommunication for membership of the Catholics in Masonic associations. The essence of Freemasonry is a revolt against the Triune God (the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit) and dedication and service to Satan. The Pope thus gave Freemasons permission to hold the highest posts within the Catholic Church with impunity. In December of 1996, the Grand Orient Lodge offered John Paul II its greatest honour, the Order of Galilee, as an expression of thanks for the efforts that he made in support of Freemasonic ideals.










Two Masons in aprons and a prelate

By receiving Freemasons into the Church, granting them an audience and accepting their awards, John Paul II publicly renounced Christ. His gesture set an example to other Church hierarchs who now deepen this fraternity and strengthen the unity. The fruit is the catastrophic current state of the Church.


The roots of the spirit of Assisi

Until the mid-20th century the Roman-Catholic Church took part in no “dialogues” with pagan religions. Why? Not that she would despise or condemn pagans but she was well aware that behind pagan religions personal demonic power is present in a hidden way, as the Holy Scripture speaks about it in many places (1 Corinthians 10:20-21; Acts 26:18; Deuteronomy 18:9-14). A historical milestone was the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), where Church representatives adopted a new policy in relation to other religions. Today the Catholics assume erroneously that Christianity may be enriched by various pagan religions. However, pantheistic and animistic elements contained in these religions are tied up with demonism and satanism which resist God and the truth. Through so-called “theology of culture” the Vatican accepted a kind of new special syncretism.


II. The spirit of Assisi (1986)

John Paul II invited pagans and participated in their “prayers”, in which they invoke demons

At the instigation of John Paul II, on 27th October 1986 the first meeting of different religions took place in Assisi, Italy – a so-called World Day of Prayer for Peace. It was attended by 150 representatives of 12 religions, including Buddhists, Muslims, Native Americans, African aborigines, Zoroastrians, Sikhs, Hindus, Shintoists.

The Pope opened the meeting with an address, in which he put the Christian prayer to the one true God on an equal footing with the so-called prayer of all other pagan religions. He said: “Peace is the fruit of prayer, in which all religions express their relationship to one supreme power.”

The Pope’s statement is an overt lie. Peace is the fruit of conversion and repentance, which means, turning away from idolatry, unbelief and sin. There is a true and a false prayer. True prayer turns to the one sovereign God and false prayer turns to demons. Pagans do not pray to God but to demons (cf. 1Cor 10:20). By his word and gesture John Paul II committed a heresy and apostasy, caused offence and opened the way of apostasy for the whole Catholic Church. He thus denied the Church’s Magisterium.



Then the Pope put the Christian churches at the disposal of representatives of pagan religions for performing their rituals and “prayers” for peace.



Buddhists prayed in the Church of St. Peter in Assisi. They placed the statue of Buddha on the tabernacle.

Hindus gathered in the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Assisi.

Muslims gathered in the Monastery of St. Anthony.

American Indians prayed in the Church of St. Gregory, preparing their pipes of peace on the altar.

Shintoists were in the Benedictine monastery.

It was truly severe apostasy. The Christian faith was put on an equal footing with all pagan religions. To crown it all, at the end they all prayed together “to one father”. The Pope finished with the prayer Our Father.

In this way the Pope emphasized his leading role in the worldwide syncretistic New Age movement. John Paul II became the instigator and leader of Babylon in Assisi.

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Pt. I-II, Q. 103, A. 4 writes: “All ceremonies are professions of faith. Man can make profession of his inward faith, by deeds as well as by words: and in either profession, if he make a false declaration, he sins mortally.” John Paul II committed not only mortal sin but multiple public apostasy!


The Statue of Buddha on the Tabernacle at Assisi












The Dalai Lama, Buddha and a demonic ritual constitute a triple abomination of desecration in the holy place (cf. Mt 24:15). Yet this was desecration not only of a temple but of the whole Catholic Church. Pope Honorius (7th cent.) was posthumously excommunicated for being passively silent on heresies. Pope John Paul II is to be beatified and canonized for actively introducing a whole heretical stream and spirit of apostasy into the Catholic Church.

Both the Orthodox and Protestants ask: “Is the Catholic Church Christ’s Church? Has she not become a harlot of antichrist?”


The Buddhists bow before the statue of Buddha

The statue is placed on the tabernacle in the Church of St. Peter in Assisi and the Buddhists perform their idolatrous ritual. The Pope put the churches in Assisi at the disposal of pagans so that they could worship false gods in them.


The Dalai Lama repeats a mantra – a so-called prayer for peace in Assisi













Pagans pray to demons. To receive a “blessing” from the Dalai Lama or a Shaman means to open up to a curse and demonic bondage. The question is whether the Pope’s disease in the last seven years of his life was not a visible sign of a curse coming from God and the fruit of this “blessing”.

According to God’s law (see Books of Kings), John Paul II thus brought down a curse not only on himself but also on the whole Church. The result of such a curse is spiritual blindness and loss of the true faith. The majority of the Catholics, and especially the hierarchy, cannot discern the worship of the true Triune God from the worship of demons. They are no longer able to perceive the difference between the faith in Christ and idolatry. Unfortunately, in this state they cannot be saved. The present Cardinals and most of the Bishops are unable to confess the faith and renounce heresies. Such is the reality. In consequence of this apostasy of theirs, which is a result of the loss of faith, on 15th September 2009 they excommunicated themselves from the Church.




God’s sign in Assisi
















On 26th September 1997, during the earthquake, the ceiling of the church over the main altar broke and completely demolished the altar. The disaster claimed the lives of two Franciscan friars and two laymen. Regrettably, the apostatical hierarchy as well as religious closed their eyes and ears, so that they could continue the way of apostasy which Pope John Paul II had opened in the Church. Unfortunately, this apostate Pope did not stop his destructive activity within the Church! Today the whole Church is paralyzed by this spirit of apostasy and unable to stop and repent.


III. The fruit of Assisi

1986-1994: After 1986, the Vatican continued its propagation of so-called ecumenical cooperation between the religions. Every year the Vatican organizes similar interreligious meetings in different towns of Europe.

1987 – John Paul II sponsored a pagan prayer meeting at Kyoto

1987, 1988 – Rome

1989 – Warsaw

1990 – Bari

1991 – Malta

1992 – Brussels

1993 – Milano (led by M. Gorbachov) – 300 representatives of 42 religions of the world crowned their meeting with a procession to the Milanese cathedral. Thousands of people went into raptures.


Chicago 1993: Parliament of World’s Religions

In the span of nine days in Palmer House Hilton in Chicago a meeting of 6 000 representatives of 250 religions took place. The Vatican took official part in it – represented by Joseph Bernardin, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and Archbishop of Chicago. The meeting was attended by Universalists, Buddhists, Sikhs, Muslims, Jews, Baha’is, Zoroastrians, Hindus, Patowatomis… Native Americans performed a pagan ritual and invoked demons.

More than 30 000 people gathered in a large park to listen to the words of the Dalai Lama who clearly expressed a syncretistic dream of this council: “One religion only cannot satisfy the needs of millions of different people. Therefore we are obliged to respect the existence of different religions. It serves the good of humankind. … As for Tibetan Buddhism, we are moving ahead. We organize an exchange of monks – Christian monks and nuns are coming to our monasteries. It is all very fine and useful.”

How could Christians participate in the Chicago Babylon? The Vatican bears extremely great responsibility for the apostasy in Chicago – it cooperated in it, supported it financially and took official part in it. How deep will the Vatican fall?









Lourdes: In July 2005 during an international Mass in the Underground Basilica in the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes Hindu women performed Tamil dances. Those dances are inspired by pagan myths and offered to honour false deities.

Assisi 1994: 8th interreligious meeting meant again worldwide apostasy from the Christian faith. How is it possible to put the holy Christian faith on an equal footing with heresies and pagan religions of the world? Would saint apostles take part in such all-heretical and interreligious meeting? Would they give their consent to cooperation with all heretics and pagans of the world?



Catholic Cardinal E. I. Cassidy read out a welcoming address by John Paul II: “Cooperation of all religions is developing more and more deeply.” However, where to do these relations between Christians and other religions lead? The truth is becoming relative. New world order, new world spirituality and new world morality are becoming a flesh-and-blood reality.

The Cardinal emphasized the most essential uniting element for all religions: “the spirit of Assisi”.

What place in this syncretism belongs to our Lord Jesus Christ? What fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? (cf. 2 Corinthians 6:15)


Canberra (Australia) 1994: Performance of a magic ritual – so-called purification of the altar – in a “dancing manner” to the accompaniment of wild shrieks


















In the Catholic Cathedral Church of St. Christopher a strange worship took place. It was commenced by native Australians – aborigines – who performed a ritual of so-called “purification” of the altar. Are such abominations permitted in a Christian church? The Aborigines brought a “purifying” fire in front of the altar and thus desecrated both the altar and the church.

Representatives of 13 denominations were to pass through the “purifying” fume, by which act they were welcomed by native Australians. Unfortunately the abominations taking place around the altar continued. A many-coloured silk covering cloth made by women of different denominations was brought in a dancing procession, this symbolizing a spirit which as if covered all participants.


Unity with the Muslims

In 1985 in the Moroccan city of Casablanca, the Pope spoke before thousands of young Muslims about the opening of a dialogue with Islam, assuring them that we have one and the same God. However, the Church Tradition clearly testifies that we do not have the same God as Muslims. Their Allah and our Lord are not one.


John Paul II kissed the Koran












The Koran is the Muslims’ holy book which blasphemes the Most Holy Trinity and denies the Divinity of Jesus Christ. To revere the holy book of a false religion has always been considered an act of apostasy – a complete denial of the true religion.

Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Raphael I recounts the event in an interview with FIDES News Service: “On May 14th I was received by the Pope, together with a delegation composed of the Shi’ite imam of Khadum mosque and the Sunni president of the council of administration of the Iraqi Islamic Bank. At the end of the audience the Pope bowed to the Muslim holy book, the Qur’an, presented to him by the delegation, and he kissed it as a sign of respect. The photo of that gesture has been shown repeatedly on Iraqi television and it demonstrates that the Pope has great respect for Islam.”




The Pope took off his shoes in the mosque













On 6th May 2001, John Paul II visited the “Great Umayyad Mosque” of Damascus. While in the mosque, John Paul II took off his shoes out of reverence.

In his encyclical of 30th December 1987, he wrote: “Muslims, like us, believe in the just and merciful God.”

During the General Audience on 5th May 1999, he said: “Today I would like to repeat what I said to young Muslims some years ago in Casablanca: ‘We believe in the same God…'” However, God’s Word says: “Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father.” (1Jn 2:22-23; cf. John 5:23) It is a blindfolded lie which contradicts the Gospel and the whole Tradition of the Church to state that Muslims and Christians have the same God. The Pope thus proved that he did not have the Catholic faith. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Pt. II, Q. 12, A. 1, Obj. 2: “…if anyone were to… worship at the tomb of Mahomet, he would be deemed an apostate.” To show reverence for the Koran means the same!


The fruit of this reverence












Hundreds, if not thousands of people were murdered during the Muslim attack on Christians in three agricultural settlements in Nigeria which began at 3 o’clock in the night on 8th March 2010.

The Muslims were shouting in a rage: “Allahu Akbar!” and killing defenseless Christians with knives and machetes.

Archbishop Ben Kwashi says: “I could see machete wounds in the necks of children. Kids from age zero to teenagers, all butchered from the back, macheted in their necks, their heads. Deep cuts in the mouths of babies. I could not stand it.”

Another fruit of this reverence is Islamization of Europe. Nowadays there are more than 14 million Muslims in Europe. The Pope let all crucifixes be removed in Assisi and today the Muslims demand the removal of the crucifixes in hospitals and in public areas throughout Italy. When will they start actions similar to that in Nigeria?


Pagan “purification” ritual











Mass in Mexico City in 2002 incorporated the customs of the demonic Aztec culture. Indians danced before the altar, some left their midriffs exposed. As they performed, the snake-like hiss of rattles and the beating of tom-toms could be heard.





John Paul II himself was actually the recipient of a pagan “purification” ritual which was executed by a woman, Zapotec Indian from the State of Oxaca. During the Mass John Paul II beatified Juan Battista and Jacinto de los Angeles who shed their blood for the defence of the Catholic faith.

The Indians offered Juan Battista and Jacinto de los Angeles their freedom if they would assent to the Indian idolatry. They refused, and were killed after undergoing cruel tortures. Their hearts were taken from their chests and given to dogs. The day of their martyrdom was 16th September 1700.

It is astonishing that John Paul II allowed idolatrous rituals similar to those that the martyrs died to prevent.


John Paul II receiving a ‘blessing’ from an Indian Shaman











During his visit to Phoenix in 1987, an Indian shaman bestowed a ritual “blessing” upon John Paul II using an eagle’s feather. After the pagan ritual, John Paul II said that the act had “enriched the Church”.

Pagans pray to demons. To receive a “blessing” from a Shaman means to open up to a curse and demonic bondage. The question is whether the Pope’s peculiar disease was not a visible sign of a curse (the disease manifested itself by unnatural spasmodic gestures and saliva dribbling).











John Paul II – “African tribal chief”

Owing to his gestures and statements, the apostatical activity of John Paul II brought a new thinking in the Church – a heresy saying that Christianity and paganism are equal ways to salvation and that there is no need for mission. This thinking forms part of the contemporary priestly and religious formation. It is a heretical and apostatical thinking!


Mons. Ivan Dias lighting the lamp in front of a pagan god

The Indian Express, Bangalore, 6th October 1997














Mons. Ivan Dias, Archbishop of Mumbai, lighting the lamp in front of the god Ganesha.




This hierarch fully imitates John Paul II. That was also why he initiated publication of the so-called “Hindu Bible” (interpretation of the Holy Scripture in the spirit of Hinduism), wherefore he was promoted to the rank of a cardinal and entrusted with one of the highest offices in the Church – the office of Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. There must be some mistake – it seems to be anti-evangelization of peoples. This means the death of true evangelization and its end. We published an anathema against the apostate Dias on 3rd September 2008. His external gesture is a demonstration of his inward attitude and faith. It is a sign of his apostasy from Christ. To light a lamp in front of an idol means to offer it divine worship. In case the Catholic Church – her visible structure – has not yet even considered public excommunication of Dias, she convicts herself of having received the spirit of antichrist and of blaspheming the Triune True God. Let us recall the gestures which were demanded from the early Christian martyrs. Just one small sign of reverence for an idol would have sufficed; however, they preferred to go to death. It is impossible to worship demons and to serve Christ at the same time. These gestures of John Paul II, I. Dias and of other apostate hierarchs completely change the fundamental attitudes and thinking of the Catholics and lead to official apostasy.

“In India the future priests are formed in the spirit of Vatican II inculturation and their formation is a mixture of Catholic and pagan customs. This results in half-Hindu, half-Catholic liturgies and customs. Everything is to bring together the religions, not a conversion to the Catholic Faith and rejection of the pagan cult. At least one priest has told me that he views Christ as some sort of an enlightened person. Several dress up like mendicants in saffron robes.”

(A letter from India)


Another fruit of Assisi












The fruit of the spirit of Assisi is manifested in an interview with Sr. Ann (Missionaries of Charity), Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu:

Question: Do you believe if they die believing in Shiva or in Ram they will go to heaven?

Answer: Yes, that is their faith. So if they have believed in their god very strongly, if they have faith, surely they will be saved. (Note: this answer is at sharp variance with the Word of God: “There is salvation in no one else /only in Christ/.” Acts 4:12)

Question: Today it does not seem that the Catholic Church is trying to convert anymore. I know that John Paul II is saying now that those of other religions are saved. You do not believe they are lost anyway, right?

Answer: No, they are not lost. They are saved according to their faith, you know. If they believe whatever they believe, that is their salvation.

(Note: These heretical answers of a religious sister are at sharp variance with the teaching of the Holy Scripture and Tradition but in full accord with the way of apostasy marked out by John Paul II. According to this, Christ sacrificed His life and death for our sins in vain.)














The spirit of syncretism and apostasy, to which Pope John Paul II opened the door, bears its pernicious fruit. A lot of movements took this course, e.g. Maryknoll or Focolare along with its founder Chiara Lubich whom the Church will want to canonize soon. And why not? John Paul II caused far greater offence than her!














Buddhism – France










French Benedictine monk Benoit Billot says a meditative “Mass”.

He was initiated into Zen Buddhism in Japan. On his return to France he founded Maison de Tobie – The House of Tobias. There he teaches Buddhist body positions and exercises on how to manage breathing, sexuality, and circulation of energy. This syncretism is a false way which denies salvific repentance connected with the confession of sins and with the faith that Jesus Christ died for our sins.

The statue of Buddha holding a Crucifix is allegedly to illustrate on Buddha and Jesus but it is a lie!












John Paul II meets representatives of various sects, thereby paving the way which has nothing in common with self-denial and with the following of Christ.












A Hindu dance in a Catholic church

This ritual dance desecrated the shrine in Würzburg. The shrine in Fatima was desecrated in a similar way in 2005, when a Hindu demon called the goddess Kali was enthroned there!

All this is the fruit of the spirit of Assisi.


Assisi II with John Paul II

On 24th January 2002, John Paul II held another pagan prayer meeting in the city of Assisi.










During this Assisi prayer meeting, the representative of every false religion was allowed to come to the pulpit and give a sermon on world peace. In the presence of John Paul II, a voodoo high priest came to the pulpit and gave the voodoo prescription for world peace.

The Hindu woman told the entire crowd that everyone is god, as John Paul II looked on. After each representative finished preaching, they all broke up into different rooms to pray to their false gods.

John Paul II had it arranged in advance that each false religion was given a separate room in which to worship the devil.

All of the crucifixes were removed, and the crucifixes which could not be removed were covered.

The Muslims needed a room which faced East toward Mecca, and it was given to them. The Zoroastrians needed a room with a window, so that the smoke from the wood chips that they burned to the devil could exit through it – and it was given to them.









Asian sect of the Tenrikyians performing their ritual in Assisi


Desecration of the cross











This association with the New Age symbol called Vitruvian man (by Leonardo da Vinci) is a mockery of Christ’s cross and profanation of the sign of our salvation. It is shameful that a Catholic priest is not able to distinguish between Christian and demonic symbols. Thus he participates in public degradation of our Saviour.


The spirit of modern psychologies in the liturgy











Franciscan priest Richard Rohr “celebrates” Masses during which the participants play bongos, chorus girls perform various dances and Rohr calls God Father-Mother. He uses terms of modern psychologies, which are connected with pagan practices and moral impurity.


World Youth Day 2005 in Cologne

What legacy did John Paul II leave in the so-called World Youth Days?

It is obvious that these meetings have nothing in common with the Catholic faith.













During the World Youth Day in Toronto, for example, there was a “mission” of distribution of condoms. This perfectly catches the spirit of loose morals which prevails at these meetings.

A priest and a religious sister dancing on top of barrels in front of the Cathedral of Cologne.


Unity with Indians









In October 1999, John Paul II took part in a Pan-Christian Encounter. This encounter included a pagan ritual of an American Indian pivoting in the centre of St. Peter’s Square “blessing the four corners of the Earth”.


Buddhist medium Thupten Ngodup in the Abbey of Gethsemani












The spiritual counsellor of the Dalai Lama was received in the Trappist Abbey of Gethsemani. During a tour around the United States (July 15- August 8, 2007) he was invited to address the Trappists in their Chapter Room at Gethsemani.

Thupten Ngodup was seated on the Abbot’s chair, the place for the representative of Christ in that community. Ironically, on the wall above the Abbot’s chair is the Latin motto of the Trappists: Christo Omnino Nihil Praeponant (Let them prefer nothing whatsoever to Christ).













A common spiritual retreat of the Buddhists and Catholic Trappists

What kind of spirit rules in such spiritual retreat? It is the spirit of apostasy, the spirit of antichrist.




Trappist priest – master of Zen

















Trappist priest Kevin Hunt (70) is installed by his master, Jesuit Fr. Robert Kennedy (dressed in Japanese kimono), as the first American Trappist instructor of Zen.

The ceremony took place at St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer (Massachusetts) on 17th April 2004.

Under the “protection” of Buddha (statue in the back) and filing in to the cadence of a Japanese drum, the procession reached the Abbey’s Chapter Room. There the instalment was made.

Hunt knelt down, Kennedy imposed his hands upon him and made Hunt his successor; the latter received the “Robe of Liberation” – a black Japanese kimono – and his teaching staff.

Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, the then General Superior of the Jesuits, wrote a letter praising Hunt’s achievement as “one that we can all celebrate in thanksgiving to God”.

How is it possible that the Trappist priest Hunt and the Jesuits Kennedy and Kolvenbach have not been excommunicated from the Church for their public apostasy?

The answer is: The spirit of Assisi has excommunicated the Holy Spirit from the Church.


A Paulist priest teaches yoga in New York City











Fr. Thomas Ryan sits on his heels in a Buddhist position before starting his class.

Fr. Ryan is a certified Kripalu Yoga instructor. In 1991, during a year of sabbatical in India, he was initiated in yoga and Buddhist meditation.

From September to May he teaches four or five 10-week sessions of yoga and meditation for an average of 30 persons per class at St. Paul the Apostle Parish in midtown Manhattan. Each session lasts an hour and 45 minutes.

This also is “the spirit of Assisi”.


Nuns gather in Buddhist Temple (23-26 May 2003)













A Catholic priest preaches to Catholic nuns, who gather for a retreat at the Hsi lai Buddhist Temple (Hacienda Heights, CA).

Behind the priest, an altar to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is set up in front of the statue of Buddha.

This too is the way of apostasy from Christ to pagan idolatry.

Poor Clares making Buddhist ceremonies












At a Poor Clares convent in Paris, the nuns take part in a prayer service that mixes Zen practices and Catholic prayer. The five nuns practise Zazen, a Japanese form of Zen Buddhism. Barefoot nuns in secular clothes assume meditative postures and make a circular “procession” in front of a large crucifix.

At the base of the crucifix in a place of prominence is a photo of master Narita of Zen Buddhism and an open Bible. A burning candle to the side and a pot of incense on a mat pay homage indiscriminately to the Zen master and Christ.

Apostasy of religious from the saving faith and this pernicious syncretism is the fruit of “the spirit of Assisi”.


Dancing religious sisters from the USA










Dancing Catholic nuns represent 115 Catholic Congregations of Religious Women in America.

From July 14-16, 2002, they gathered at Loyola University to discuss the catastrophic crisis of vocations their congregations are experiencing and to suggest solutions to the problem. The only solution is deep conversion and initiation of religious sisters into true interior prayer. All psychologies and Oriental practices are a deceit and a way to eternal perdition!


Kurisumala – the Hindu-Trappist monastery in India













A Mass in the Trappist monastery of Kurisumala, India. Like all the monks, the three concelebrating priests wear saffron tunics and are seated on the floor, legs crossed in the lotus position.

The liturgy has been completely “inculturated” into the Syro-Malanchar worship customs. The priest offers the Mass to “the Establisher of the eternal dharma for peace and the restoration of the cosmic order”. The music is a mixture of songs from a Hindu Bhagavad-Gita source, Vedic Upanishads hymns, and some of St. Ephrem’s canticles. This pernicious syncretism has been promoted through an argument that the new path in the Catholic Church was officially approved by John Paul II in Assisi. This path, however, is a path of betrayal of Christ and of the Church!



Papal Nuncio lights a lamp to Hindu deities












The Papal Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, attended a ceremony at John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, DC, to give awards to those who “built bridges” between religions, in order to establish the union of all religions. On the occasion, Archbishop Sambi lit a candle in a devotional lamp to Hindu deities.

One of the main feasts in the Hindu religion is made in homage to Lakshmi, the goddess of abundance and wealth. At this ceremony, a ritual lamp with five candles is placed on a painted mat and lighted in honour of the goddess Lakshmi and god Ganesh the conqueror (a lamp in honour of the latter was also lit by the then Archbishop of Mumbai Ivan Dias on 5th October 1997). In the villages of India, the cows are adorned and worshipped at this festival, because Lakshmi is said to be incarnated in all cows.

Even this madness is the fruit of “the spirit of Assisi”.


Muslim whirling dervishes dance at the Catholic Votive church in Vienna












On 30th November 2007, Muslim whirling dervishes from Turkey performed their ritual Sufi dances in the Votive Catholic church of Vienna. Muslims thus commemorated here the 734th anniversary of the death of Sufi founder Mevlana Rumi.

The ceremony was promoted by the Archdiocese of Vienna. Opening the Sufi religious ceremony was Fr. Martin Rupprecht. Speaking on behalf of Cardinal Christoph von Schönborn, he said in Turkish: “I greet my whirling brothers with heartfelt feelings.” He went on to tell the audience that “it was beautiful to see Muslims in a Catholic Church”.

The Turkish ambassador to Vienna, Selim Yenet, also gave a speech praising Mevlana Rumi and Mohammed. After the performance, a Muslim Sufi recited verses of the Koran before the altar.

Even this desecration of the church is the fruit of “the spirit of Assisi”.


Rock’n’roll mass in the Catholic church of St. Alphonsus Liguori













Rock’n’roll dancers performing rock dance routines in front of the altar during a highly attended Mass in St. Alphonsus Liguori Catholic Church in St. Louis (MO) which calls itself a “rock” church.

Behind the rock music is the spirit of impurity, occultism, violence and unbelief. This music is an opposite of sacral Christian songs. Through the rock dance also works the unclean spirit!



The Church goes to nightclubs

Spanish Bishop Horlando Arce Moya, taking advantage of the aggiornamento, used to play at night clubs after the Second Vatican Council.














The Punk Priest













Fr. Robert Lubic in 1991, commemorating Halloween with some friends while he was studying at Saint Vincent Seminary (Latrobe, Pennsylvania). This is a testimony what kind of spirit holds sway over the seminaries and what the fruit is of the present-day priestly formation.


Dominican nuns celebrate Halloween











In the Convent of the Dominican Nuns of Summit (New Jersey), Dominican nuns wear witch hats and masks to celebrate the day of Halloween 2006. (“Halloween” – a feast of satanists – has its origin in the far past when Celtic priests – sorcerers – went from house to house and demanded sacrifices for their god Samhain – sometimes even a member of a family for a ritual murder. Whichever house refused, they killed them all. Then they used human fat to make candles and put them inside hollowed beets.)

St. Dominic of Guzman, the Founder of their Order, fought principally against the Cathars and Albigensians – a heresy associated with witchcraft. Unfortunately, today the spiritual daughters of St. Dominic venerate witch traditions. Even this is the fruit of “the spirit of Assisi”.


The ecological party in a Benedictine monastery

The spirit of these celebrations seems completely at variance with that of St. Benedict, co-founder and inspirer of the Benedictine Sisters, who wrote in his Rule: “Coarse jests, and idle words or speech provoking laughter, we condemn.” (Chap. VI).

At present, ecology is one of the chief means of New Age propagation.















Mother Teresa praying at Gandhi’s monument











Mother Teresa is praying to Mahatma Gandhi at his tomb in New Delhi (1997).

It is shameful that a “Catholic saint”, instead of venerating the tombs of missionaries-martyrs in India, publicly venerates the father of New Age, a Hindu guru. This is public idolatry and it gives offence to the little ones.

The question is whether all who were canonized by John Paul II are really saints.


Missionary of Charity wearing rain-bow Hawaiian lei

Missionary of Charity poses with rainbow Hawaiian lei, oversized “love” glasses and clownish hat. The root of the problem of secularization is that nowadays religious institutes substitute social and humanitarian activity for spiritual life and true mission which is to proclaim a definite way of salvation in Jesus Christ.













Holy Redeemer Parish marches in “gay” parade












Most Holy Redeemer Parish is in the Castro homosexual district of San Francisco.

On 25th June 2006, after Sunday Mass, the local priest Fr. Steve Meriwether blesses homosexuals who are getting ready to go downtown to march in the “gay pride” parade.













Fr. Meriwether blessed also the trolley car that took the parish delegation to the “gay pride” parade.

The banner held by the homosexuals carried the slogan: Holy Redeemer Catholic Church.

Even this loss of judiciousness and common sense is the fruit of “the spirit of Assisi”.


Catholic bishops in the vestment with the rainbow colours












At World Youth Day 1997 in Paris, a fashionable French couturier was hired to design the vestments the Cardinals and Bishops would wear at those ceremonies. The result was vestments with the rainbow colours.

The rainbow colours are a well-known symbol of homosexuals and of the New Age movement.


1985 – “Gay” Pride Parade in New York City












Five Catholic priests take part in the demonstration in support of the gay “rights”.

One declared to the press that they were homosexuals and represented a much higher number of priests who did not come.

They march under the banner of “Dignity”, the well-known homo-sexual organization. In 2009, the Pope apologizes for paedophilia of the priests in USA and Australia.


Jesuit priest Robert Ver Eecke dances in front of the altar in a church of Boston













What does it mean – a half-naked priest dancing in the church instead of celebrating Holy Mass?

This likewise is the fruit of “the spirit of Assisi”, the spirit of apostasy from Christ and His Gospel!


Jesuit priest Saju George performs so-called liturgical dances














The feminine priest performs a dance called the Bharatanatyam which he learned from Hindu gurus.

This dance is performed in Hindu temples to worship their false divinities.

Fr. George’s statement that by his exhibition he “gives momentum to God’s word in tangible form” is absurd.


John Paul II greeting the voodoo “high priest”











In Cotonou (Benin, Africa) February 1993, John Paul II greets the voodoo “high priest”, who was accompanied by other voodoo witchdoctors.

The animist religion to which they be-long worships the souls of ancestors, the forces of nature, and also the devil.

In Cotonou, on 4th February 1993, chanting girls treated John Paul II to a “trance inducing” voodoo dance.

The Pope blindly sees pagan rituals, which are connected with magic and with the invoking of spirits, as mere culture. To take part in the satanic voodoo ritual means to open up to the influence of demons and, moreover, it sets a bad example and causes offence to all Christians.


Indian Mass with pagan symbols and blessing













On 24th June 2005 in San Gabriel Mission Church in Los Angeles a Confirmation Mass took place, integrating Indian rituals, songs and dances into the Catholic liturgy.

Auxiliary Bishop Gabino Zavala officiated at the event, calling it an “historic” Native American Mass.

After a pagan blessing of the “sacred space”, Bishop Zavala began the service. The Offertory song was “Planting Stick”, the Communion song, the “California Bear Healing”, and the meditation and exit hymns were ancient pagan songs in the Tongva Indian tongue.



The picture shows Bishop Zavala in prayer before the “sacred sage” is lit for a Tongva “blessing” to be given to the Confirmation recipient. What kind of spirit will the confirmants receive? Obviously a demonic one through the pagan ritual and pagan songs. Even this is the fruit of Assisi!


The Mass of the future in Los Angeles












Jesuit Fr. Steve Kelly says a Mass for a small community somewhere in Los Angeles (the “Invocation”).





















The stained glass window is placed in St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Buffalo (New York). It depicts pagan divinities and offers them as objects of worship for Catholics.

In the first two panels are God the Father and God the Son with outstretched hands.

Moses, as a representative of Judaism, and Mohammed of Islamism are pictured together as equals in the third panel. Over the turban-covered head of Mohammed is the crescent.

In the fourth panel, the falcon-headed figure represents a divinity of ancient Egypt, Horus, the son of Isis. The dancing nude figure to its right is the Hindu divinity Shiva. In the centre of the bottom panel is Buddha.


















Rock’n’roll dancers

Belgian religious sister Johanne Vertommen dances with missionary priest Fr. John in a close-up of World Youth Day 2005 (Cologne, 16-21 August).

When a reporter asked Sr. Johanne about her dancing poses, she answered: “My superior mother raised the issue today. She thinks I should watch out a bit and bear in mind that I represent our community.” The missionary as well as the religious sister and her superior ought to be dismissed from their religious institutes. Unfortunately, religious institutes groundlessly dismiss orthodox Catholic religious unless they subordinate themselves to the spirit of apostasy and to the “spirit of Assisi” by virtue of obedience.


A clownish mass











Such Mass was celebrated recently in a Catholic Church in Switzerland.

The clown acted as the acolyte and gave a speech.

A sad parody with a clown unfortunately reflects the state of God-consecrated persons. They are poking fun at God, the Church and people. Even this is the fruit of Assisi.


A Catholic church in the shape of a Hindu symbol











Spanish Jesuit Fr. Peter Julia became a priest in 1960. In 1966 he was assigned to missionary work in Nasik, India. There Peter changed his name to Shilananda and adopted Hindu customs. He said he found “the ideal place for blending Christian faith with Indian culture”. He also built a church in a shape inspired by the most common symbol of the Hindu deity Shiva. This syncretism which runs counter to the essence of the Gospel and Tradition is nowadays a “new way” opened by John Paul II.


Anti-mission of the Catholic “Indian Missionary Society”












The fruit of the spirit of Assisi is an anti-mission of the Catholic “Indian Missionary Society” which founded a movement called “Khrist Bhakta” for unbelievers. The aim of the movement, which is in the charge of Fr. Anil Dev, is not conversion and salvation of Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims or Sikhs but only mediation of a false view of the person of Jesus Christ to adherents of different religions and thus “enrichment” of their religion. The result is total syncretism.




Hindus will include Jesus in the galaxy of thousands of gods, Buddhists will enrich themselves with the teachings of a “master” and Muslims will receive the teaching of a “prophet”. This terrible degradation of the one true God and our Saviour Jesus Christ is also the fruit of the spirit of Assisi.


Haiti Earthquake










On 12th January 2010, the island of Haiti was struck by a powerful earthquake which claimed the lives of about 70 000 people and caused severe material harm.

Even a converted voodoo sorceress stated that it was God’s punishment for a curse brought down by the satanic voodoo sect. However, the Catholic Archbishop said that it was no God’s punishment but just a natural phenomenon. Voodoo priest M. Beauvoir stated that the time had come for “unification of religions” and assured the people present of reincarnation of the souls. Then they sang a song worshipping a snake demon Dambal which symbolizes rebirth. This confusion of mind and denial of the Christian faith is the fruit of the spirit of Assisi. “…you burnt incense to other gods … so My fury and My anger were poured out and kindled in the cities; and they are wasted and desolate, as it is this day.” (See Jeremiah 44:4-6)


Fiery appearance in 2006












A fiery silhouette appeared in a photograph taken during a ceremony held in commemoration of the first anniversary of the death of John Paul II in Poland. Some regarded it as a sign of holiness, others as a sign that John Paul II is in either purgatorial or eternal fire! In no case can this apostate Pope be beatified. It would be a public denial of the essence of both the Gospel and the Church!

Documentary photographs are available on and on our web pages.


His Holiness

Benedict XVI

Città del Vaticano

Cancellation of beatification – a reform of the Church

Your Holiness,

God through our mediation faces You with a decision on which depends the salvation of millions of souls and on which also depends Your fate after death – eternal condemnation or eternal salvation.

You know well that Your predecessor John Paul II consciously committed such acts which the Holy Scripture and the Church Tradition call idolatry and apostasy, i.e. a deadly sin. You know that he did it publicly and thus set a bad example to the whole Catholic Church as well as to those who are outside the Church. You also know well that in consequence of his syncretistic gestures practically all Church hierarchy as well as almost all priests, and even the misled laity, opened up to pagan practices, philosophies, occultism and idolatry. They have thus fallen away from the saving faith and both their souls and mind have been bound by demonic powers working through paganism (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:20).

Instead of preaching of the Gospel to the world we can see such gestures in the life of John Paul II which deny the fundamental truth of the faith, i.e. that Jesus Christ is the only Saviour. Embraces with the Dalai Lama who makes himself god, participation in magic rituals of a so-called blessing (curse), receiving of a magic wreath and of the mark of the god Shiva on his forehead from a Hindu priestess, as well as a public demonstration of friendship with Shamans and Masons – these all are gestures of apostasy giving offence to the whole Church.



His statement that Buddhists, Hindus, Shamans, Voodooists etc. worship the one true God like Christians is a lie. Permission for pagans, witchdoctors and all those who worship demons to practise their idolatry in the Catholic temples is desecration not only of these temples but of the whole Church. Permission for the Buddhists to place in his presence the statue of Buddha on the tabernacle in place of the cross and to worship and “adore” it is a manifest apostatical gesture set as a precedent for the Church on the path to apostasy!

Men, women and children in the history of the Church preferred to sacrifice their lives rather than to do what was done by John Paul II. Your Holiness, before this multitude of thousands of martyrs and before the living God, who will come again to judge the living and the dead, we call upon You as the successor of Peter to definitely condemn the syncretistic gestures of John Paul II. We hereby appeal to You to declare not only the gestures in Assisi to be idolatry but the whole apostatical line which John Paul II introduced into the Church!

Your Holiness, You must tell the Church and the world that to permit the statue of Buddha to be placed on the tabernacle in place of the cross and worshipped is a deadly sin, an affront to the martyrs and a mockery of Christ. However, if You remain silent for fear of the apostate cardinals and bishops and for fear of the world, You will thus betray Christ and His Church. If You allow the planned beatification of John Paul II on 10th October 2010, You will thus automatically tell the world that the worship of Buddha and placing him on the altar, on the tabernacle in place of the cross, is no betrayal or denial of Christ! But this will mean that You proclaim a different gospel and do not love the truth! Following Your example, Christians will fall away from Christ and God will condemn You by His unequivocal and immutable word – Galatians 1:8-9; 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12.

Your Holiness, on behalf of Christ crucified we beseech You: Put aside fear and cancel beatification of John Paul II, condemn his apostatical gestures and call upon the Church to repent and to return to Christ. Next we ask You to dissolve the apostatical College of Cardinals even officially and to institute the College of the Twelve in which You will continue to represent Peter. After Your death Your successor will be elected from this College instituted by You. We propose again that You transfer the centre: come out of Babylon (Rome – 1Pt 5:13) to Jerusalem. There start the reform of the Church. The first step of this reform is cancellation of the beatification of John Paul II.

It is necessary that You personally, together with the other 11 men of God, start the reform of the Church. Start the reform concretely by removing from office all apostate bishops (who have not confessed the faith and cover up or are silent on heresies) and appoint new ones in their place. Besides, remove from office all cardinals who have publicly betrayed Christ and excommunicated themselves from the Mystical Body of Christ as apostates. Dissolve this institution – now already anachronic and afunctional!

Your Holiness, You do not have much time; You are 83.

We pray for You and ask for Your blessing.

Bishops of the UOGCC

+ Eliáš OSBMr, + Metoděj OSBMr, + Markian OSBMr, + Samuel OSBMr

Lvov (Ukraine), 14th March 2010

Copies to:

Bishoprics of the Catholic Church

Patriarchs and Bishops of the Orthodox Churches

Representatives of the Protestant Churches



John Paul II – a preacher of a new gospel

The Lord Jesus sent the Apostle Paul “to open the eyes of the Gentiles, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God” (Acts 26:18).

John Paul II was doing the exact opposite – he sustained the pagans in their darkness and service to demons. He abused divine authority entrusted to him and forced this false path upon the Church, whereby he changed the essence of the Gospel. The Word of God says to this activity of his: “Not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are confusing you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8-9)

In no case can John Paul II be beatified because the official Church would thus confirm a false gospel and this would mean the end of both the papal authority and of this official Church.





The New Polytheism and its Tempter Idols

Benedict XVI sounds the alarm. Forgetfulness of the one God clears the way for a world dominated by a plurality of new gods with seductive faces.
A voyage among the devotees of modern paganism
by Sandro Magister

Rome, December 9, 2010“Polytheism”: this word echoed like thunder, last October, in a speech by Benedict XVI at the synod of the bishops of the Middle East, the very birthplace of the one God made man, Jesus, and of the most powerful forms of monotheism in history, Judaism and Islam.
“Credo in unum Deum” is the mighty chord that gives rise to Christian doctrine. But for Joseph Ratzinger, pope theologian, polytheism is anything but dead. It is the perennial challenge that still rises up today against faith in the one God.
“Let us remember all the great powers of the history of today,” the pope continued at the synod. Anonymous capital, terrorist violence, drugs, the tyranny of public opinion are the modern divinities that enslave man. They must fall. They must be made to fall. The downfall of the gods is the imperative of yesterday, today, and always for believers in the one true God.
But today’s polytheism is not made up only of dark powers. Its many gods also have friendly faces, and the ability to seduce. It is the “gay science” prophesied by Nietzsche more than a century ago, which offers every single man “the greatest advantage”: that of “setting up his own ideal and deriving from it his law, his joys, and his rights.”
It is the triumph of the individual free will, without the yoke of a tablet of the law anymore, only one for everyone because it is written by just one intractable God…


Of course, the current revival of polytheism is not bringing the cults of Jupiter and Juno, Venus and Mars, back into vogue. But the philosophy of the learned pagans of the Roman empire is again blossoming intact in the reasoning of many modern proponents of “weak thought.” And not only of these. Those who today reread, sixteen centuries later, the dispute between the monotheist Ambrose, the holy patron of Milan, and the polytheist Symmachus, a senator of pagan Rome, are strongly tempted to agree with the latter, when he says: “What does it matter by what path each one seeks, according to his own judgment, the truth? It is not by one road alone that one may reach such a great mystery.”
The magnanimous equality among all religions and gods that these words seem to inspire also enchants many Christians. The “spirit of Assisi” born from the multi-religious gathering held in 1986 has so infected common opinion that in 2000 the Church of John Paul II and of then cardinal Ratzinger felt the duty to remind Catholics that there is only one savior of humanity, and it is the God made man in Jesus: a truth on which the entire New Testament stands or falls, a truth that over two millennia the Church had never felt the need to reiterate with an “ad hoc” pronouncement. And yet, that declaration of 2000,
“Dominus Iesus,” was greeted with a firestorm of protests, inside the Church and outside, because of its exclusion of a plurality of paths of salvation all sufficient in themselves and full of grace and truth.
That these sentiments might conceal nostalgia for a plurality of gods is possible, but today’s polytheism, on a mass level, is more subtle.
The current idea is that the various religions are in their way all an expression of a “divine.”


SSPX leader criticises Pope’s plan to hold inter-religious meeting

By Anna Arco, January 12, 2011

Bishop Fellay says he is ‘deeply indignant’ at Pope’s invitation to world religious leaders to join him at Assisi

The leader of the Society of St Pius X has expressed anger at Pope Benedict’s decision to hold another inter-religious meeting at Assisi.

Weeks after Bishop Bernard Fellay said he was feeling optimistic about union with Rome this year, the superior general of the SSPX said he was deeply indignant about the Pope’s invitation to religious leaders around the world to join him in Assisi.

Preaching on the Epiphany, Bishop Fellay said: “Yes, we are deeply indignant, we vehemently protest against this repetition of the days at Assisi. Everything that we have said, everything that Archbishop Lefebvre had said at the time of the World Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi in 1986, we repeat in our own name. It is evident, my dear brothers, that such a thing demands reparation. What a mystery!”

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, the founder of the SSPX, complained about the first World Day of Prayer for Peace. He said the Church had never before been “humiliated to such an extent in the course of her history”. He told John Paul II that “the scandal given to Catholic souls cannot be measured. The Church is shaken to its very foundations”.

Pope Benedict told pilgrims at the first Angelus of the year that he would travel to Assisi in October to mark the 25th anniversary of the day.

He said: “I will make a pilgrimage to the town of St Francis, inviting my Christian brethren of different confessions, leaders of the world’s religious traditions and, in their hearts, all men and women of good will, to join me on this journey in order to commemorate that important historical gesture of my predecessor, and solemnly to renew the commitment of believers of all religions to live their religious faith as a service to the cause of peace.”






SSPX Bp. Fellay criticizes Benedict XVI about Assisi meeting

Posted on 12 January 2011 by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf (all emphases are those of Fr. John Zuhlsdorf -Michael)

From The Catholic Herald (which has a huge discount right now annual subscriptions to the full digital version):

SSPX leader criticises Pope’s plan to hold inter-religious meeting
By Anna Arco

The leader of the Society of St Pius X has expressed anger at Pope Benedict’s decision to hold another inter-religious meeting at Assisi.

Weeks after Bishop Bernard Fellay said he was feeling optimistic about union with Rome this year, the Superior General of the SSPX said he was deeply indignant about the Pope’s invitation to religious leaders around the world to join him in Assisi.

Preaching on the Epiphany, Bishop Fellay said: “Yes, we are deeply indignant, we vehemently protest against this repetition of the days at Assisi. [Here’s the thing.  The meeting is quite a way off yet, and he knows that it is going to be a “repetition”?  I, too, am not enthusiastic about this idea, but I am sure that this won’t be a “repetition” of what happened at that first, unfortunate confab.] Everything that we have said, everything that Archbishop Lefebvre had said at the time of the World Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi in 1986, we repeat in our own name. It is evident, my dear brothers, that such a thing demands reparation. What a mystery!” [Indeed… it is.  And so, perhaps such a strong condemnation is not entirely fair.]

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, the founder of the SSPX, complained about the first World Day of Prayer for Peace. He said the Church had never before been “humiliated to such an extent in the course of her history”. He told John Paul II that “the scandal given to Catholic souls cannot be measured. The Church is shaken to its very foundations”.

Pope Benedict told pilgrims at the first Angelus of the year that he would travel to Assisi in October to mark the 25th anniversary of the day.

He said: “I will make a pilgrimage to the town of St Francis, inviting my Christian brethren of different confessions, leaders of the world’s religious traditions and, in their hearts, all men and women of good will, to join me on this journey in order to commemorate that important historical gesture of my predecessor, and solemnly to renew the commitment of believers of all religions to live their religious faith as a service to the cause of peace.” [A good motive, and hard to criticize justly.  What remains to be seen is how.]

Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity.

Bp. Fellay said in his sermon, via our friends at Rorate:

And here modern thinking makes truly bizarre sorts of projections: it pretends that all religions, ultimately, adore one and the same true God. That is absolutely false; it is even in Revelation; we find it already in the psalms, in Psalm 96:5, “All the gods of the Gentiles are devils!” They are devils. And Assisi will be full of devils! This is Revelation, this is the Faith of the Church; this is the teaching of the Church!

10 selected out of 117 comments:

1. While I would not attend such an interreligious meeting unless requested by an ecclesiastical superior, remember that Pope Benedict’s flock is the entire world, not just the Catholic people in it.

According to the Bible, the good shepherd goes after the stray sheep. If he feels this is the best exercise of his pastoral authority in this effort, it is not for me to say it isn’t. –Fr. Basil

2. I don’t think he wants reconciliation if it means that he has to sit by and watch such a meaningless display of religious indifference without a word. The Holy Father is not above criticism — which could be demonstrated by the fact that Cardinal Ratzinger was critical of JPII’s first ecumadness event at Assisi.

3. According to Bishop Fellay, Assisi “…pretends that all religions, ultimately, adore one and the same true God. That is absolutely false…”

Of course, that is an interpretation of Assisi — one that Pope Benedict would strongly contest. So, it belongs to the Pope to give us the true interpretation of Assisi (I doubt it will be just like 1986). Does it pretend that all religions are equal? Or is it merely a call for sincere prayer by all men of good will regardless of one’s religion. In this sense, even the honest prayer of non-Christians has value. The Catechism of the Council of Trent refers to the prayer of unbelievers as the “third degree of prayer” and affirms that “against none who desire it sincerely are the doors of divine mercy closed.”

So, the issue is really one of interpretation of the event in itself — and also the question of the value of the honest personal prayer to God — even by non-Christians. My bet is that Pope Benedict will do everything possible to promote the proper understanding of what the event is and what it is not.

4. This is an anniversary that simply does not need to be commemorated.

The 1986 Assisi meeting was a bad, bad thing. Should never have happened.

It will be interesting to see how this works out, and what the effect of this is going to be on the SSPX negotiations, but I for one cannot see how any interfaith prayer service can do any good at all.

5. I think one of the big problems in 1986 was the lack of control and this led to scandal and many wrong interpretations. For example, Buddhists were allowed to worship in a Catholic Church and there appeared photos (you can probably find them on the internet) of a statue of Buddha placed on top of the tabernacle in the Assisi Church. Similar things happened and it was the cause of much confusion and scandal. My understanding is that many of these things were corrected by Assisi II (2002). I expect Assisi III will further reduce the risk of scandal and misinterpretation.




6. That the Pope actually participated in (not merely attended passively) an Anglican Vespers service when he was in London recently was a terrible scandal to me, even more so than the Assisi meetings were. I thought that it was a mortal sin for anyone to participate in non-Catholic worship! Next time I visit my Protestant relatives, can I attend services with them? I am sincerely confused by what the Pope did in London.

You seem to have a confused understanding of who does what in and for the Church. The Vicar of Christ did not participate in the simulation of some sacrament.

There was no forbidden communicatio in sacris He prayed some psalms and other prayers, which seems to be a reasonably benign thing to do. It seems no one suddenly became confused and thought all those Anglicans were really Catholics. Quite a few Anglicans are actually becoming Catholics now, too. Can you point to something in the 1983 Code of Canon Law that states that Catholics cannot pray with non-Catholics? –Fr. Z

7. Assisi was dreadful, and IIRC Ratzinger did not even attend the one over which JPII presided. However, I think the objective of this is entirely different.

BXVI has been speaking a great deal about religious freedom and respect, and in the announcements of this event, he is also talking about peace between religions. There is one religion (well, actually, I regard it as a political system) in particular that refuses to be peaceful and play nicely, and that’s Islam. My feeling is that by trying to bring the heads of other major religions together and hoping to get them to agree on their behavior (not their beliefs, because that’s not possible), he is hoping to put pressure on Islam. That is, if all the religions present a united front, perhaps Islamic leaders will feel shamed into behaving themselves. In addition, it might provide more security for Christians in general in places where other religions (such as Hinduism) hold the majority.

Personally, I don’t think anything will make Islam stop acting like a mad dog, since the fundamentals of the religion are so skewed and so wrong that black is white and evil is good with it. Dante made no mistake when he put Mohammed at the center of the circle of those who cause discord.

Still, I think BXVI believes that making an appeal is worth the effort; there’s certainly nothing to lose. Don’t forget that St Francis went to confront and preach to the Muslims in their own territory. He didn’t achieve much, alas, but they were so stunned by his audacity that they didn’t kill him.

8. Some years after the last Assisi gathering, a violent earthquake shook the town and brought down catastrophic damage to the basilicas of the Portiuncula and the tomb of St. Francis. Tragically, the earthquake killed a Franciscan priest and brother, as I recall. I visited Assisi some time later and practically wept to see the damage to the holy sites, rebuilt now at great cost. Even still, some of the art which adorned those churches is lost, except in the photos which survive.

Some of the folks who were angered at the first meeting saw the hand of Divine Justice in that first earthquake. Now, even with the steel reinforcements ordered by the Italian government to the sacred sites, I am sure Benedict will be very careful not to provoke any further earthquakes, either spiritual or physical. -Fr. Sotelo

9. As a former “Lefebvrist” who has seen the anti-Semitic, anti-papal, conspiracy theory-oriented mentality of the Society of St. Pius X from the inside, it is my sincere hope that Rome one day fully recognizes that the SSPX is not at all Catholic in the authentic sense of the word, and is wholly separated, in spirit and in fact, from the Roman Catholic Church that we know and recognize as such, and will cease, therefore, to aspire to regularize the Society’s status within the Church.

The SSPX use all the right vestments and all the right rubrics and chant all the right chants, but that’s about all they’ve got right. The Palmarian Catholic Church has all of that, too, and there certainly isn’t anything “Catholic” about them.

Beware a strong need for Rome to continue to reach out to Fellay and the SSPX; such a yearning is misguided, in my opinion. The Church of Jesus Christ has no actual need of them…and they seem to have little need of Her.

10. I too am a former Lefebvrist. I too have seen the SSPX from the inside.

I do not believe that the claim that “the SSPX is not at all Catholic in the authentic sense of the word” is accurate or fair. The Society and its followers are a diverse group–less diverse than 25 years ago but nonetheless diverse. There are good persons as well as the wackos. We need to pray that they all find themselves in the Church before they draw their last breathes.

That said, criticism of Assisi III is premature. Nonetheless, look here at the origin of the criticism. By Msgr. Lefebvre’s own words two events indicated to him to consecrate bishops without papal mandate: the response of the CDF to the dubia on Religious Liberty and Assisi I. Assisi I was a horrible scandal for which JP II ought to have apologised to the Catholic world.

We do not know what Assisi III will bring. Praise or condemnation should be held back until the event occurs. If it is beneficial (which I doubt), then Fellay and others should clearly say so. If it is a scandal like Assisi I, then Catholics should make that known…but with proper respect for the Holy Father.


A New Syllabus for the 21st Century

That is, a document condemning mistaken interpretations of Vatican Council II. It’s been requested by a bishop of Kazakhstan, at a conference in Rome with other bishops and cardinals. Also prompting reactions is the announcement by Benedict XVI of a new interreligious meeting in Assisi
by Sandro Magister

Rome, January 14, 2011 – The announcement by Benedict XVI after the Angelus on New Year’s Day, that he will go to Assisi next October for a new meeting among the religions for peace, has reignited the controversy not only over the so-called “spirit of Assisi,” but also over Vatican Council II and the post-council.



Professor Roberto de Mattei – who has just published a rewriting of the history of the Council that culminates with the request that Benedict XVI promote “a new examination” of the conciliar documents in order to dispel the suspicion that they broke with traditional Church teaching – has joined other Catholic figures in signing an appeal to the pope that the new meeting in Assisi “not reignite the syncretistic confusion” of the first, the one convened on October 27, 1986, by John Paul II in the city of Saint Francis.
In effect, in 1986,
then cardinal Joseph Ratzinger did not go to that first meeting, of which he was critical. He did, however, take part in a repeat of it held also in Assisi on January 24, 2002, agreeing “in extremis” after being assured that the mistakes of the previous meeting would not be made again.
The main mistake fostered by the meeting in Assisi in 1986 was that of equating the religions as sources of salvation for humanity. Against this error, the congregation for the doctrine of the faith issued in 2000 the declaration “Dominus Iesus,” reaffirming that every man has no other savior than Jesus.
But also as pope, Ratzinger has again warned against the confusion. In a message to the bishop of Assisi dated September 2, 2006, he wrote:
“In order not to misunderstand the meaning of what John Paul II wanted to accomplish in 1986, and what, in his own words, is described as the ‘spirit of Assisi’, it is important not to forget the attention that was paid at that time to prevent the interreligious prayer meeting from being subjected to syncretistic interpretations founded upon a relativistic conception. […] For this reason, even when we gather together to pray for peace, this prayer must be carried out according to the distinct approach that is proper to each of the various religions. This was the decision in 1986, and this decision cannot but remain valid today as well. The coming together of those who are different must not give the impression of a concession to that relativism that denies the very meaning of truth and the possibility of attaining it.”
And visiting Assisi on June 17, 2007, he said in his homily:
“The decision to celebrate this encounter in Assisi was suggested by the testimony of Francis as a man of peace, upon whom so many look favorably, even those of other cultural and religious persuasions. At the same time, the light of the saint ‘Poverello’ upon that initiative was a guarantee of Christian authenticity, because his life and his message depend so visibly upon his choice of Christ, excluding a priori any temptation to religious indifference, which would have nothing to do with authentic religious dialogue. […] It could not be an evangelical or Franciscan attitude to fail to combine welcome, dialogue, and respect for all with the certainty of faith that every Christian, just the same as the saint of Assisi, is bound to cultivate, proclaiming Christ as the way, truth, and life of man, the only Savior of the world.”

Returning to the controversy over Vatican Council II, an important conference must be pointed out that was held last December 16-18 in Rome, a few steps from the basilica of Saint Peter, “for a correct hermeneutics of the Council in the light of Church Tradition.”
Under the critical judgment of the speakers were above all the “pastoral” nature of Vatican II and the abuses that have taken place in its name.
The speakers included Professor de Mattei and theologian Brunero Gherardini, 85, a canon of the basilica of Saint Peter, professor emeritus of the Pontifical Lateran University, and director of the journal of Thomistic theology “Divinitas.”
Gherardini is the author of a volume on Vatican Council II that concludes with an “Appeal to the Holy Father.” Who is asked to submit the documents of the Council for reexamination, in order to clarify once and for all “if, in what sense, and to what extent” Vatican Council II is or is not in continuity with the previous magisterium of the Church.
The preface to Gherardini’s book was written by
Albert Malcolm Ranjith, archbishop of Colombo and former secretary of the Vatican congregation for divine worship, made a cardinal at the consistory last November.
Ranjith is one of the two bishops to whom http://www.chiesa recently dedicated an article with this title:
> Ratzinger’s Best Pupils Are in Sri Lanka and Kazakhstan
And the second of these bishops,
the auxiliary of Karaganda, Athanasius Schneider, was present at the conference in Rome from December 16-18, as a speaker.
Below is presented the final portion of his presentation.
Which concludes with a request to the pope for two remedies for the abuses of the post-council: the release of a “Syllabus” against the doctrinal errors of interpretation of Vatican Council II, and the appointment of bishops who are “holy, courageous and deeply rooted in the tradition of the Church.”
There to listen to Schneider were cardinals, curia officials, and prominent theologians. Suffice it to say that the speakers included Cardinal Velasio de Paolis, Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, Bishop Luigi Negri, and Monsignor Florian Kolfhaus of the Vatican secretariat of state.
The audience included a large contingent of Franciscans of the Immaculate, a young religious congregation following in the footsteps of Saint Francis, bursting with vocations and of decidedly orthodox in orientation, the polar opposite of the so-called “spirit of Assisi” and the organizer of the conference itself.

by Athanasius Schneider

[. . .] For a correct interpretation of Vatican Council II, it is necessary to keep in mind the intention manifested in the conciliar documents themselves and in the specific words of the popes who convened and presided over it, John XXIII and Paul VI.
Moreover, it is necessary to discover the common thread of the entire work of the Council, meaning its pastoral intention, which is the “salus animarum,” the salvation of souls. This, in turn, depends on and is subordinate to the promotion of divine worship and of the glory of God, it depends on the primacy of God.


This primacy of God in life and in all the activity of the Church is manifested unequivocally by the fact that the constitution on the liturgy occupies, conceptually and chronologically, the first place in the vast work of the Council. [. . .]
The characteristic of the rupture in the interpretation of the conciliar texts is manifested in a more stereotypical and widespread way in the thesis of an anthropocentric, secularist, or naturalistic shift of Vatican Council II with respect to the previous ecclesial tradition.
One of the best-known manifestations of such a mistaken interpretation has been, for example, so-called liberation theology and the subsequent devastating pastoral practice. What contrast there is between this liberation theology and its practice and the Council appears evident from the following conciliar teaching: “Christ, to be sure, gave His Church no proper mission in the political, economic or social order. The purpose which He set before her is a religious one” (cf. “Gaudium et Spes,” 42). [. . .]
One interpretation of rupture of lighter doctrinal weight has been manifested in the pastoral-liturgical field. One might mention in this regard the decline of the sacred and sublime character of the liturgy, and the introduction of more anthropocentric elements of expression.
This phenomenon can be seen in three liturgical practices that are fairly well known and widespread in almost all the parishes of the Catholic sphere:

-the almost complete disappearance of the use of the Latin language,

-the reception of the Eucharistic body of Christ directly in the hand while standing,

-and the celebration of the Eucharistic sacrifice in the modality of a closed circle in which priest and people are constantly looking at each other.
This way of praying – without everyone facing the same direction, which is a more natural corporal and symbolic expression with respect to the truth of everyone being oriented toward God in public worship – contradicts the practice that Jesus himself and his apostles observed in public prayer, both in the temple and in the synagogue. It also contradicts the unanimous testimony of the Fathers and of all the subsequent tradition of the Eastern and Western Church.
These three pastoral and liturgical practices glaringly at odds with the law of prayer maintained by generations of the Catholic faithful for at least one millennium find no support in the conciliar texts, and even contradict both a specific text of the Council (on the Latin language: cf. “Sacrosanctum Concilium,” 36 and 54) and the “mens,” the true intention of the conciliar Fathers, as can be seen in the proceedings of the Council.
In the hermeneutical uproar of the contrasting interpretations, and in the confusion of pastoral and liturgical applications, what appears as the only authentic interpreter of the conciliar texts is the Council itself, together with the pope.
One could make a comparison with the confused hermeneutical climate of the first centuries of the Church, caused by arbitrary biblical and doctrinal interpretations on the part of heterodox groups. In his famous work “De Praescriptione Haereticorum,”
Tertullian was able to counter the heretics of various tendencies with the fact that only the Church possesses the “praescriptio,” meaning only the Church is the legitimate proprietor of the faith, of the word of God and of the tradition.
The Church can use this to fend off the heretics in disputes over true interpretation. Only the Church can say, according to Tertullian, “Ego sum heres Apostolorum,” I am the heir of the apostles. By way of analogy, only the supreme magisterium of the pope or of a future ecumenical council will be able to say: “Ego sum heres Concilii Vaticani II.”
In recent decades there existed, and still exist today, groupings within the Church that are perpetrating an enormous abuse of the pastoral character of the Council and its texts, written according to this pastoral intention, since the Council did not want to present its own definitive or unalterable teachings. From the same pastoral nature of the texts of the Council, it can be seen that its texts are in principle open to supplementation and to further doctrinal clarifications. Keeping in mind the now decades-long experience of interpretations that are doctrinally and pastorally mistaken and contrary to the bi-millennial continuity of the doctrine and prayer of the faith, there thus arises the necessity and urgency of a specific and authoritative intervention of the pontifical magisterium for an authentic interpretation of the conciliar texts, with supplementation and doctrinal clarifications; a sort of “Syllabus” of the errors in the interpretation of Vatican Council II.
There is the need for a new Syllabus, this time directed not so much against the errors coming from outside of the Church, but against the errors circulated within the Church by supporters of the thesis of discontinuity and rupture, with its doctrinal, liturgical, and pastoral application.
Such a Syllabus should consist of two parts: the part that points out the errors, and the positive part with proposals for clarification, completion, and doctrinal clarification.
Two groupings stand out for their support of the theory of rupture. One of these groupings tries to “Protestantize” the life of the Church doctrinally, liturgically, and pastorally. On the opposite side are those traditional groups which, in the name of tradition, reject the Council and exempt themselves from submission to the supreme living magisterium of the Church, from the visible head of the Church, the vicar of Christ on earth, submitting meanwhile only to the invisible head of the Church, waiting for better times. [. . .]
In essence, there have been two impediments preventing the true intention of the Council and its magisterium from bearing abundant and lasting fruit.
One was found outside of the Church, in the violent process of cultural and social revolution during the 1960’s, which like every powerful social phenomenon penetrated inside the Church, infecting with its spirit of rupture vast segments of persons and institutions.
The other impediment was manifested in the lack of wise and at the same time intrepid pastors of the Church who might be quick to defend the purity and integrity of the faith and of liturgical and pastoral life, not allowing themselves to be influenced by flattery or fear.



The Council of Trent had already affirmed in one of its last decrees on the general reform of the Church: “The holy synod, shaken by the many extremely serious evils that afflict the Church, cannot do other than recall that the thing most necessary for the Church of God is to select excellent and suitable pastors; all the more in that our Lord Jesus Christ will ask for an account of the blood of those sheep that should perish because of the bad governance of negligent pastors unmindful of their duty” (Session XXIV, Decree “de reformatione,” can. 1).
The Council continued: “As for all those who for any reason have been authorized by the Holy See to intervene in the promotion of future prelates or those who take part in this in another way, the holy Council exhorts and admonishes them to remember above all that they can do nothing more useful for the glory of God and the salvation of the people than to devote themselves to choosing good and suitable pastors to govern the Church.”
So there is truly a need for a Syllabus on the Council
with doctrinal value, and moreover there is a need for an increase in the number of holy, courageous pastors deeply rooted in the tradition of the Church, free from any sort of mentality of rupture, both in the doctrinal field and in the liturgical field.
These two elements constitute the indispensable condition so that doctrinal, liturgical, and pastoral confusion may diminish significantly, and so that the pastoral work of Vatican Council II may bear much lasting fruit in the spirit of the tradition, which connects us to the spirit that has reigned in every time, everywhere and in all true children of the Catholic Church, which is the only and the true Church of God on earth.
The complete text of the presentation by Bishop Athanasius Schneider, given in Rome on December 17, 2010:
> Il primato del culto di Dio come fondamento di ogni vera teologia pastorale. Proposte per una corretta lettura del Concilio Vaticano II
The appeal of last January 11 to Benedict XVI against the doctrinal dangers of a new interreligious meeting in Assisi:
> “Santo Padre Benedetto XVI, siamo alcuni cattolici gratissimi dell’opera da Lei compiuta…”
As for the correct interpretation of Vatican II, Benedict XVI clarified his thought in the memorable speech to the curia on December 22, 2005, ruling out the idea that the documents of the Council contain doctrinal errors and points of rupture with the tradition of the Church:
> “Your Eminences…”


Pope’s call for interfaith day of prayer provokes debate

Rome, Italy, January 20, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News)

Pope Benedict XVI’s call for world religious leaders to gather in Assisi, Italy to pray for peace has touched off a lively debate among Italian Catholic opinion leaders.

Critics of the Pope’s plan charge that it will create a false impression that all religious believers pray to the same deity or that there are no real distinctions among religious faiths.

The Pope announced his desire to revive the “spirit of Assisi” in remarks made on New Year’s Day. He said he planned to mark the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s “World Day of Prayer for Peace,” held in the hometown of St. Francis of Assisi, the 13th-century saint known for his concern for peace and inter-religious dialogue. Pope John Paul also hosted a similar event in Assisi in 2002.

A date for the new celebration still has not been set, although Pope Benedict indicated that it would be held sometime in October.

Each of the two previous gatherings garnered a mixture of criticism and praise. Criticism came from those who thought the event transmitted the impression that all participants, among them Hindus, Muslims, Animists and Atheists, were praying to the same God.

Detractors said it promoted relativism and religious syncretism, that is, a mishmash of contrary beliefs.

Before his election to the papacy, the future Pope Benedict may have had mixed feelings about the event as well. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger did not take part in the Assisi event in 1986, but attended in 2002 at the request of John Paul II.

Now that Pope Benedict has announced the third such gathering, a new wave of criticism and defense has rolled in. The arguments being heard today often seem recycled from the earlier debates.

Initiating the debate in Italy was a group of nine intellectuals who made a direct, and very public, appeal to the Holy Father in the pages of Il Foglio newspaper on Jan. 11. The group, all obvious supporters of the Pope and his teaching, pleaded with him not to revive the “spirit of Assisi.”

In spite of the words and intentions of those who promoted the inaugural event in 1986, the first encounter “had an undeniable repercussion, re-launching, precisely in the Catholic world, indifferentism and religious relativism,” they said.

According to the group, it taught people “to archive” the teaching of the Church on Christ as the Savior and “had the effect of making many believe that everyone was praying to ‘the same God,’ only with different names.”

Seeing Catholic priests sharing in certain rites with people of other religions conveyed the idea that “all rites are nothing but empty human gestures. That all conceptions of the divine are equal. That all morals … are interchangeable,” they argued.

The “spirit of Assisi … casts confusion,” they concluded.

Political and state channels as well as dialogue might be followed to bring about peace, they said, but they cautioned about giving those desiring “to confuse the waters and revive religious relativism” a platform on the anniversary of the 1986 occasion.




In the Milan-based daily newspaper Corriere della Sera the next day, historian, philosopher and religion scholar Alberto Melloni struck out at those who appealed against the meeting, calling them “zealous and disrespectful Catholics who seek to influence the Pope.”

He called their appeal “attempted intimidation” that “aims to render the presence of Benedict XVI in Assisi qualitatively and quantitatively minimal.”

It is an “audacious and mistaken move,” he said, as “it’s enough to know a little about the life … of the intellectual character of Joseph Ratzinger to know that no conformism has ever tied his hands.”

The debate raged on with another article in the Jan. 13 edition of Il Foglio, in which two of the scholars Melloni dubbed “zealous and disrespectful” called Melloni out as “brother censor.”

One of the nine, Francesco Agnoli, whittled their appeal down to a single phrase. “We only posed a question: in going to Assisi does one run the risk of syncretistic interpretations?

“The question seems legitimate to me,” he told Il Foglio.

“Today Assisi means one thing for the people: the Pope who prays together with the representatives of other religions to a presumed ‘one God.’ It is an image that undermines the idea of the doctrine that Christ is the Savior.”

Agnoli pointed to Islamic fundamentalists who “exterminate Christians,” or Hindus who “burn” them while professing equality among men. “Blessed be medieval times, when you could argue among Catholics, in fidelity to Christ and the Church,” he concluded.

The open debate has attracted its share of commentators. Among those was Vatican analyst Andrea Tornielli who pointed out through the online Bussola Quotidiana that the argument was partial. He found it strange that all reference to the second encounter, which followed the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York and the Pentagon, was omitted from discussion.

Appealing to the Pope on such a matter is a “hazardous” affair, he said. “The initiative, in the end, is not limited to being a concerned letter from those who ask the pontiff that risks and bad interpretations be avoided … rather, (it reads) as the will to dictate the line to the Pope to prevent him from leaving the programs of his own pontificate.

This means, at the end of the day, that “they have made an idea of Benedict XVI that does not correspond to the reality, also because it was the Pope … who decided to convoke Assisi III.”

Tornielli quoted Cardinal Ratzinger’s own words to the magazine “30 Days” after the 2002 experience. On that occasion, the cardinal refuted the idea that it was an encounter that made all religions equal. “Rather,” he said, “Assisi was the expression of a path, of an investigation, of the pilgrimage for the peace that is such, only if united to justice.”

“With their testimony for peace, with their commitment for peace in justice, the representatives of the religions have begun, in the limits of their possibilities, a path that must be for all a path of purification.”

Tornielli said that, in 2011, the conditions of religious freedom in the world could be the Pope’s justification for running the “risks” of another “Assisi.”

To those who would counter Pope Benedict’s decision, the Vatican analyst said “you can not be in agreement with him, but it is unfair to seek to prove that the Pope is not in agreement with himself.”


Italian Catholic Intellectuals Beg Benedict XVI to “Flee the Spirit of Assisi” (Dialogue Centre International)“flee-the-spirit-of-assisi”/

Sources:, in Italian. The bold print is from this edition – DICI 228, January 20,

On January 11, Catholic Italian journalists and academics caused to appear in Il Foglio a supplication to the Pope, begging him not to go to Assisi next October.  Here are some of the most significant extracts.
Most Holy Father,
(…)We take the liberty of writing you after having learned, precisely during the massacre of the Coptic Christians (Ed. in Egypt, December 31, 2010), your intention of convening in Assisi, in October, a large inter-religious assembly, 25 years after “Assisi 1986”.
We all remember this event that took place so long ago.  An event like few others in the media, that, independently of the intentions and declarations of he (those) who convened it, had an undeniable repercussion, re-launching in the Catholic world
indifference and religious relativism.
It is this event that caused to take effect among the Christian people the idea that the secular teaching of the Church, “one, holy, Catholic and apostolic”, concerning the unique character of the Savior, was in some way to be banished to the archives.
We all remember the representatives of all the religions in a Catholic sanctuary, the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli, lined up with olive branches in hand: as if to signify that peace does not come through Christ but, indistinctly, through all the founders of any credo whatsoever (Mohammed, Buddha, Confucius, Kali, Christ…)
We remember the prayer of the Muslims in Assisi, the city of a saint who had made the conversion of the Muslims one of his objectives.  We remember the prayer of the animists, their invocation to the spirits of the elements, and of other believers or representatives of atheistic religions, such as Jainism.
effect of this “praying together”, whatever its goal may be, like it or not, is to make many believe that all were praying to “the same God”, only with different names.
On the contrary, the Scriptures are clear: “Thou shalt not have false gods before me” (First Commandment), “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life: no man cometh to the Father but by me” (John 14:6)
Those who write here in no way contest a dialogue with each and every person, whatever his religion may be.





We live in the world, and every day we speak, discuss, love, even those who are not Christian, because they are atheists, indifferent, or of other religions.  But that does not keep us from believing that God came down to earth, and let Himself be killed to teach us, precisely, the Way, the Truth, and not just one of many possible ways and truths.  Christ is, for us Christians, the Savior; the only Savior of the world.
We recall with consternation, going back 25 years, the chickens beheaded on the altar of St. Claire according to tribal rituals and a statue of Buddha placed on the altar in the church of St. Peter, above the relics of the martyr Vittorino, killed in 400 AD to bear witness to his faith.
We remember the Catholic priests at the initiation rites of other religions: a horrible scene, for, if it is “ridiculous” to baptize into the Catholic faith an adult who does not believe, just as absurd is it for a priest to undergo a ritual of which he recognizes neither the validity nor the utility.  By doing this, one ends up just spreading one idea: that rites, all rites, are nothing but empty human gestures.  That all the conceptions of the divine are of equal value.  That all moralities, that emanate from all religions, are interchangeable.  That is the “spirit of Assisi”, upon which the media and the most relativist milieus of the Church have elaborated, sowing confusion.  It seemed to us foreign to the Gospel and to the Church of Christ that had never, in two thousand years, chosen to do such a thing.  We would have liked to rewrite these ironic observations of a French journalist: “In the presence of so many gods, one will believe more easily that they are all equal than that there is only one that is true.  The scornful Parisian will imitate that skeptical collector, whose friend had just made an idol fall from a table: ‘Ah, unhappy one, that may have been the true God’.”
We therefore find comfort for our perplexities in the many declarations of the Popes who have always condemned such a “dialogue”.  Indeed, a congress of all religions has already been organized in Chicago in 1893 and in Paris in 1900.  But Pope Leo XIII intervened to forbid all Catholics to participate.
The same attitude was that of Pius XI, the Pope who condemned Nazi atheism and Communist atheism, but deplored at the same time the attempt to unite people in the name of a vague and indistinct sentiment, without religion, without Christ.
Pius XI wrote thus in Mortalium Animos (Epiphany 1928) concerning ecumenical encounters: “We see some men, convinced that it is very rare to meet men deprived of all religious sense, nourish the hope that it might be possible to lead peoples without difficulty, in spite of their religious differences, to a fraternal agreement on the profession of certain doctrines considered as a common foundation of spiritual life.  That is why they begin to hold congresses, reunions, conferences, frequented by an appreciably large audience, and, to their discussions, they invite all men indistinctly, infidels of all kinds along with the faithful of Christ and even those who, unfortunately, have separated themselves from Christ or who, with bitterness and obstinacy, deny the divinity of His nature and of His mission.
“Such undertakings cannot, in any way, be approved by Catholics, since they are based on the erroneous opinion that all religions are more or less good and praiseworthy, in the sense that all equally, although in different ways, manifest and signify the natural and innate sentiment that carries us towards God and pushes us to recognize with respect His power.  In truth, the partisans of this theory fall into a complete error, but what is more, in perverting the notion of the true religion, they repudiate it, and they fall step by step into naturalism and atheism.”
In retrospect, we can say that Pope Pius XI was right, even on the level of the simple opportunity: in reality, what
has been the effect of “Assisi 1986”, in spite of the just declarations of Pope John Paul II, aimed at forestalling such an interpretation?
What is the message re-launched by the organizers, the media, and even the many modernist clerics desirous of overturning the tradition of the Church? What came across to many Christians, through the images, which are always the most evocative, and through the newspapers and television, is very clear: religious relativism, which is the equivalent of atheism.
all pray “together”, many have concluded, then all religions are “equal”, but if this is the case, that means that none of them is true.  At this time, you, cardinal and prefect of the Congregation of the Faith, with Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, and several others, were among those who expressed serious doubts.  For this reason, in the following years, you have never participated in the replicas proposed each year by the Community of Sant’Egidio.

These past years you have taught, without always being understood, even by Catholics, that dialogue has its place, and can take place, not between different theologies, but between different cultures, and not between different religions, but between men, in the light of that which distinguishes us all: human reason.
Without recreating the ancient pagan Pantheon; without the integrity of the faith being compromised by a love for theological compromise; without Revelation, that is not our own, being modified by men and theologians in the aim of reconciling the irreconcilable; without placing Christ, “sign of contradiction”, on the same level as Buddha or Confucius, who, besides, never said that they were God.
This is why we are here to expose to you our fears.  We fear that, whatever you may say, television, the newspapers, and many Catholics will interpret it in the light of this past and of the present indifferentism; we fear that, whatever you may claim, the event will be read as a continuation of the manipulation of the figure of St. Francis, transformed by today’s ecumenists into an pacifist, a syncretist without faith.  It is already the case…
We are afraid that whatever you may say to clarify things more, the simple faithful, of whose number we are, everywhere in the world will see but one fact (and that is all that will be shown, for example, on television): the Vicar of Christ not only speaking, debating, dialoguing with the representatives of other religions, but also praying with them.  As if the manner and the end of prayer were indifferent.



And many will think mistakenly that the Church has henceforth capitulated, and recognized, in the line of the New Age way of thinking, that to pray to Christ, Allah, Buddha, or Manitou is the same thing.  That animist and islamic polygamy, hindu castes or the polytheistic animist spiritualism, can go hand-in-hand with Christian monogamy, the law of love and pardon of the One and Triune God. (…)
Most Holy Father, we believe that with
a new “Assisi 1986”, no Christian in the Orient will be saved: nor in Communist China, nor in North Korea or Pakistan or Iraq… on the contrary, many faithful will not understand why in these countries, people still die martyrs for not renouncing their encounter not with just any religion, but with Christ.  Just as the Apostles died.
In the face of persecution, there exist political, diplomatic means, personal dialogues between States: may they all take place, and as well as possible.  With Your love and Your desire for peace for all men.
But without giving those who wish to sow confusion and to augment religious relativism – antechamber of all relativisms –, an opportunity, for the media included, as appetizing as a second edition of “Assisi 1986”.
With our filial devotion,
Francis Agnoli, Lorenzo Bertocchi, Roberto de Mattei, Corrado Gnerre, Alessandro Gnocchi, Camillo Langone, Mario Palmaro

25 years of opposition to the spirit of Assisi, in the name of the continuity of the Magisterium before Vatican II (Dialogue Centre International)

February 5, 2011

Benedict XVI has announced his intention to travel to Assisi next October for the 25th anniversary of the first interreligious meeting organized by his predecessor, John Paul II, in the town of Saint Francis.  Citing the constant official teaching of the Church until the Second Vatican Council, for 25 years the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X has fought “the spirit of Assisi” referred to by the planners of these meetings with worshippers of Allah, Buddha, Shiva….

Assisi I (October 27, 1986):
Letter of Archbishop Lefebvre to eight cardinals (August 27, 1986)
Declaration by Archbishop Lefebvre and Bishop de Castro Mayer, December 2, 1986

Assisi II (January 24, 2002):
Bishop Fellay’s letter concerning the meeting in Assisi on January 24, 2002
The Society of St. Pius X’s study: From Ecumenism to Silent Apostasy (January 2004)
Interview with Bishop Bernard Fellay published by DICI Feb. 2, 2004
Towards Assisi III (22nd October 2011):
Bishop Fellay’s conference at the Courier de Rome Congress, Paris, January 9th 2011 (excerpts)
Statement by Fr. Stefan Frey, Rector of the seminary of the Society of St. Pius X in Germany

And also:
The Assisi meeting, seen from Mecca
Benedict XVI will travel to Assisi in October 2011
We will not pray together in Assisi
Italian Catholic Intellectuals Beg Benedict XVI To “Flee the Spirit of Assisi”


Assisi alone is reason enough to beatify John Paul II

By Francis Phillips, April 14, 2011

The Devil’s Advocate has a necessary task but the late Pope’s virtues outweigh his faults and errors of judgement

The late John Paul II is soon to be beatified. With this in mind, a friend has kindly pointed out to me an article in The Remnant online for March 21 which challenges the whole basis for the beatification. Reading it I see that the traditional and necessary office of the Devil’s Advocate has been doing its work. The article does not deny the late Pope’s personal holiness, but raises a number of points which will all be familiar to readers of “Christian Order” over here (and I note that Rod Pead, the Editor of CO, has added his signature to the list of those opposing the beatification, at the bottom of the Remnant article.)

The indictment against John Paul II states that “in the exercise of his exalted office as Pope” he did nothing to stop the abuses of the liturgy; he did not take the proper steps to investigate the sexual scandals of the priesthood – in particular those connected with the disgraced founder of the Legionaries of Christ; he caused confusion by his “numerous theologically dubious apologies for the presumed sins of Catholics in prior epochs of Church history”; and he caused scandal by the gatherings at Assisi in 1986 and 2002, in which he prayed with animists and other pagans. The article even throws doubt on the miracle that was needed for the process of beatification to go forward.

The charges are grave and, as I said above, the task of the Devil’s Advocate is a necessary one. However, once everything has been weighed up, both in favour of John Paul’s pontificate and against it, and Rome has made its decision, is it not a little churlish at this late stage of the process to try to put a spanner in the works? Beatification does not assume impeccability; it investigates and assesses the heroic virtue of the candidate. In this case the late Pope’s virtues vastly outweigh, to my mind, his faults and errors of judgment.



What springs to mind when I think of the late Holy Father? He was a magnificent defender of the sacredness of human life, marriage and family, and the dignity of women, in a host of inspiring encyclicals and other writings: Familiaris Consortio, Mulieris Dignitatem, Evangelium Vitae come to mind, but there are many others. Indeed, he was a great teaching Pope. He was hugely instrumental, along with President Ronald Reagan, in bringing about the fall of Communism in Russia and Eastern Europe. He was a wonderful communicator of the Faith to young people at the World Youth Days he instituted. How many young men and women have decided to dedicate themselves to the priesthood and religious life as a result of attending one of these occasions?

There is much more than could be cited in the Pope’s favour, but I will simply mention the Assisi gatherings.

I accept I might be biased here, as Francis of Assisi is my patron saint – but what is wrong with a Catholic leader praying alongside those of other faiths? I do not say you that pray ‘in unity’ with them as this is not possible; but to ask the Holy Spirit to come down and do His mysterious, grace-filled work at such a gathering: surely that is an act of charity towards those who, through no fault of their own, lack the fullness of truth?

This morning a Muslim lady taxi driver came to my house to take my daughter to her day centre. She happened to notice the tile stuck on the brickwork by the front door with the words (in Portuguese) “Our Lady of Fatima, bless this house”. “What does this mean?” she asked, pointing at the word ‘Fatima’. I explained that Our Lady had appeared at Fatima, adding I had once read that she had chosen to appear at this particular spot because the name ‘Fatima’ is very important to Muslims as the name of Muhammad’s daughter, and so that Catholics who reverence the shrine might pray especially for the followers of Islam. She was very pleased at this idea.

I then explained briefly (I was in my dressing –gown) about the Blessed Trinity, the role of Mary and the work of the Holy Spirit and we parted with much good will. I would gladly have prayed for her and alongside her if our dialogue had fallen out that way.


1 out of 355 comments

The document of the Second Vatican Council that dealt with ecumenism, Unitatis Redintegratio, stated that unity among Christians was a “principal concern” of the Council. In Chapter 1, paragraph 7 the document states that “Even in the beginnings of this one and only Church of God there arose certain rifts, which the Apostle strongly condemned. But in subsequent centuries much more serious dissensions made their appearance and quite large communities came to be separated from full communion with the Catholic Church-for which, often enough, men of both sides were to blame.” This suggests that the Catholic Church was partly to blame for the Protestant Reformation and completely contradicts the teaching of Pope Pius XI. In his encyclical letter Mortalium Animos issued on the 6th January 1928, less than forty years before the opening of the Council, the Pope stated “Nor could the Church ever lack the strength necessary for the continued accomplishment of its task, since Christ Himself is perpetually present with it, according to His promise: “Behold I am with you always even to the consummation of the world (Matt: 28:20)”. To suggest that the Church was to blame for the Reformation surely suggests that Christ’s declaration that the gates of Hell would never prevail against it (Matt. 16:18) was false or had failed.

Unitatis Redintegratio goes on to say that “some and even very many of the significant elements and endowments which together go to build up and give life to the Church itself, can exist outside the visible boundaries of the Catholic Church” (para. 3). Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor recently said something similar when he declared that the Catholic Church is not “self – sufficient”. (Catholic Herald, 13/02/09) Pope Pius IX is his “Syllabus of Errors” (1864) stated that it is a grave error to hold that “Protestantism is nothing more than another form of the same true religion, in which form it is given to please God equally as in the Catholic Church” Whilst the Church has never rejected the elements of Divine Truth found in protestant communities, namely the life of grace and the written word of God, this ambiguous statement can be misleading and suggest that other churches and ecclesial communities offer the means of salvation in equal measure to the Catholic Church.

The document goes on to praise the liturgical action of those Christians separated from the Catholic Church stating that “The brethren divided from us also use many liturgical actions of the Christian religion. These most certainly can truly engender a life of grace in ways that vary according to the condition of each Church or Community. These liturgical actions must be regarded as capable of giving access to the community of salvation.” (Chapter 1, para. 9) This too is overly ambiguous and thus, confusing. Pope Leo XIII declared that Anglican orders are “totally null and utterly void”. Since the Anglicans are considered to be the closest of the reformed communities to the Catholic Church and even their orders are invalid, we can safely say that ALL protestant ministries are null and void. Therefore the Council should not be misleading the faithful by stating that the liturgy of these communities engenders a life of grace. This is clearly contrary to Sacred Tradition.

The Second Vatican Council dramatically departs from the Traditional teaching on the Church on Chapter 2, paragraph 10. Here it is stated that “In certain special circumstances, such as the prescribed prayers “for unity,” and during ecumenical gatherings, it is allowable, indeed desirable that Catholics should join in prayer with their separated brethren.” It has never been the practice of the Church to encourage Catholics to meet for prayer with Non-Catholics. Indeed, Sacred Scripture forbids the followers of the true religion from interaction with heretics. 2 John 1:10 states “If any man come to you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into the house, or say to him, God speed you.” Pope Pius XI stated in his encyclical letter Mortalium Animos (1928) that Catholics were absolutely forbidden from taking part in assemblies with Non-Catholics: “Thus, Venerable Brethren, it is clear why this Apostolic See has never allowed its subjects to take part in assemblies with Non-Catholics.” We can clearly see that the suggestion that Catholics should take part in ecumenical gatherings is contrary to Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.





The second last paragraph of Chapter 3 of the Council’s decree on Ecumenism goes even further in its contradiction of, and departure from, Sacred Tradition. The decree states that “When comparing doctrines with one another, they should remember that in Catholic doctrine there exists a “hierarchy” of truths, since they vary in their relation to the fundamental Christian faith.” This is completely at odds with the Traditional teaching of the Church. Mortalium Animos (1928) paragraph 15 is very clear on this matter saying “Furthermore, it is never lawful to employ in connection with articles of faith the distinction invented by some between ‘fundamental’ and ‘non-fundamental’ articles, the former to be accepted by all, the latter being left to free acceptance by the faithful.” The idea that some articles of the Catholic faith are essential but others can be either adhered to or ignored is an outrage.

There is no doubt that the desire for Christian unity is a noble desire. The Church has always prayed for unity and this has been the intention of its evangelical mission. Traditionally, the Church has taught that this unity can only be achieved by those who have been separated from the Catholic Church returning to it. Mortalium Animos (1928) paragraph 17 states “Let Our separated children, therefore, draw nigh to the Apostolic See, set up in the City which Sts. Peter and Paul, Princes of the Apostles, consecrated by their blood.” The Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism, Unitatis Redintegratio, is a departure from Traditional Catholic ecclesiology. Anything promulgated by Pastoral Council that departs from Sacred Tradition cannot be binding on Catholics and is most certainly a heresy.


Declaration of an excommunication upon Pope Benedict XVI and John Paul II

The Byzantine Catholic Patriarchate of the Ukraine Orthodox Greek Catholic Church, May 1, 2011
The Byzantine Catholic Patriarchate by authority of the apostolic and prophetic office in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ obliges before God all Catholics in conscience and promulgates:

1) Beatification of the deceased Pope John Paul II is invalid.

2) The deceased Pope John Paul II (Gal 1:8-9) excommunicated himself from the Church of Christ. The reason was his apostatical gesture in Assisi by which he opened the Church to the spirit of antichrist.

3) By beatification of the spirit of Assisi – the spirit of antichrist – Pope Benedict XVI likewise excommunicated himself from the Church of Christ.

The consequences of the papal apostasy:

As from 1st May 2011, the Church is in a sedes vacantis state.

Every priest is now obliged to dissociate himself from the spirit of Assisi before the faithful. He must no longer mention the name of the apostate Benedict XVI or of the apostate bishop in the Liturgy. If he remains in unity with the spirit of apostasy, then, as an apostate, he celebrates the Liturgy invalidly.

The Byzantine Catholic Patriarchate is now commissioned by God to protect the orthodox doctrine of the Catholic Church, including the Latin Church. Only after an orthodox Catholic hierarchy and an orthodox successor to the Papacy is elected, will the Patriarchate be relieved of this God-given duty.

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

+ Elijah Patriarch

+ Methodius OSBMr + Timothy OSBMr Secretaries of the Byzantine Catholic Patriarchate

Lvov – Ukraine

{Scroll down to bottom if you want to read the message
Benedict XVI is excommunicated click here to view video}


Sant’Egidio Founder on 1986 Assisi Meeting of Religious Leaders

“Twenty-five Years have passed … and the World Is Much Changed”

Rome, July 13, 2011

Here is the statement of Andrea Riccardi, founder of the Community of Sant’Egidio, that was published Tuesday in the L’Osservatore Romano, on the meeting to be held this October in Assisi with representatives of the world’s religions and non-believers titled “Pilgrims of Truth, Pilgrims of Peace.”

The meeting is the third in a series of similar gatherings held in the Italian town, the first two were held in 1986 and 2002. The 1986 meeting was called by John Paul II on the occasion of the U.N. International Year of Peace, and the next meeting, on Jan. 24, 2002, was convoked by John Paul II following the Sept. 11 attacks, and it was geared especially to ward off the danger of a confrontation with Islam.

* * *

Twenty-five years have passed since the event in Assisi in 1986 and the world is much changed. Then, western culture considered religions a reality which modernity had done away with. Blessed John Paul II, on the contrary, intuited the public force of religions, despite secularization. He knew that religions could be attractive to war-like passions. Worried about the cold war, he invited leaders of Christian religions and other world religions to Assisi.

There was no shortage of encounters between religions: often dialogue that did not respect the substance of faith alternated with calls from religious leaders for this or that political cause. John Paul II stood apart from such models of encounter. He wanted Assisi to be a day of prayer and silence: different from interreligious conferences. It hinged on an invocation for peace: “More perhaps than ever before in history,” he said, “the intrinsic link between an authentic religious attitude and the great good of peace has become evident to all.”




The event surprised the world, struck by the image of the Pope amongst religious leaders. Some spoke of it as a television performance. Even peace needs to touch the hearts of people. The event of 1986 was, as Benedict XVI has written, “an accurate prophecy.”

It is useful to look at the path marked out by Benedict XVI with his encounters from the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, to the Synagogue in Rome and which, in October 2011 will reach Assisi. Speaking in Naples in 2007 at the meeting of religious leaders promoted by the Community of Sant’Egidio, the Pope said, “We are all called to work for peace and to be effectively committed to furthering reconciliation among peoples.

This is the true “spirit of Assisi” which opposes every form of violence and the abuse of religion as a pretext for violence.” The logic of fighting is not the future of humanity. We need to direct hearts and minds not towards a clash of civilizations, but towards the civility of living together.

The Pope concluded, “In the face of a world torn apart by conflicts, where violence in God’s Name is at times justified, it is important to reaffirm that religions can never become vehicles of hatred…On the contrary, religions can and must offer precious resources to build a peaceful humanity because they speak of peace to the human heart.”

This is the challenge of Assisi but it is also a challenge of living together in peace amongst people of different traditions and identities. In the difficult crossroads of history, the Catholic Church, while it witnesses its faith in Jesus Christ, serves the unity of nations hoping to encourage a sense of the holiness of peace and of human life in the hearts of followers of all religions.


From Assisi 1986 to Assisi 2011, the Meaning of a Journey

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, SDB, Secretary of State, July 20, 2011

On the way to the meeting next 27 October [2011]

On 25 January 1986, in his Homily at the Mass he celebrated in the Basilica of St Paul Outside-the-Walls, John Paul II launched an appeal in the context of the International Year for Peace declared by the United Nations Organization. It was not only addressed to Catholics or believers in Christ but also to the members of the world’s various religions and to all people of good will so that they might all pray insistently for the gift of peace.

“The Holy See wishes to help bring into existence a global movement of prayer for peace which, by going beyond the boundaries of the individual nations and involving believers of all religions, succeeds in embracing the whole world” (Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, 1986, Vol. I, p. 198).

On the same occasion, the Pope announced that he wished to sponsor a special meeting that would be held in Assisi, open to the leaders of Churches, of Christian communities and of the world’s major religions. The gathering, which took place on 27 October 1986, had a huge impact on worldwide public opinion.

What at first sight caught the attention and imagination of many was to see gathered together — perhaps for the first time in history — so many representatives of the principal religions.

At a closer look it was nevertheless possible to perceive clearly the profound intentions which had motivated the great Pontiff: in the first place, to shed light on the intrinsically spiritual dimension of peace in the face of a cultural climate that was tending to marginalize the religious phenomenon. The components of peace are multiple and its construction undoubtedly requires commitment in the political, social and economic fields, on the part of governments, international organizations and civil societies. Yet it is true that peace is, primarily and fundamentally, a reality that is formed in hearts, born from the loftiest human aspirations.

Secondly, the gathering of the leaders of different religions placed before each one of them the responsibility of ensuring that his or her own religious beliefs express — personally and as a community — an effective endeavour to build peace. Indeed, it is well known that in the past membership of a religion has also often been exploited as an element of opposition and conflict.

The 1986 meeting highlighted the three spiritual elements present, although in different forms, in almost all religious traditions: prayer, pilgrimage and fasting.

John Paul II explained clearly the implications of coming together to pray in the same town: “The fact that we have come here does not imply any intention of seeking a religious consensus among ourselves or of negotiating our faith convictions. Neither does it mean that religions can be reconciled at the level of a common commitment in an earthly project which would surpass them all. Nor is it a concession to relativism in religious beliefs” (Opening Address for the World Day of Prayer for Peace, Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, Assisi, 27 October 1986; L’Osservatore Romano English edition [ORE], 3 November 1986, p. 1).

This very point was of capital importance. In fact relativism or syncretism end by destroying, rather than enhancing, the specific quality of religious experience. He subsequently returned to this topic on several occasions partly because of the superficial interpretations — which were not lacking — of that first meeting in Assisi. In the Letter he addressed to the Bishop of Assisi for the loth anniversary of the event, Pope Benedict XVI was to recall that “it is only right to avoid an inappropriate confusion. Therefore, even when we are gathered together to pray for peace, the prayer must follow the different uses proper to the various religions. This was the decision in 1986 and it continues to be valid also today. The convergence of differences must not convey an impression of surrendering to that relativism which denies the meaning of truth itself and the possibility of attaining it” (Message to Bishop Domenico Sorrentino of Assisi-Nocera Umbra-Gualdo Tadino on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Interreligious Meeting of Prayer for Peace, 2 September 2006; ORE, 13 September 2006, p. 3).



This is the correct interpretation of the “spirit of Assisi”, frequently invoked in the context of projects for dialogue and meetings between members of different religious traditions. Such initiatives increased after the 1986 meeting, which, for its part, lives on as an event that is in a certain way unique: it was a strong moment of spiritual sharing, lived in simplicity and brotherhood, typical qualities of St Francis whose influence can still be felt in his birthplace.

Thus it comes spontaneously to look anew to Assisi at the particularly delicate and dramatic moment in recent history in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001.

At the beginning of the new millennium, perhaps at the very moment when the division of the world into opposing blocs had ended and the expectation of the affirmation of an era of greater peace was at its strongest, threatening clouds suddenly appeared, obscuring the hopes of many.

John Paul II then made a second appointment in the town of St Francis with the leaders of Christian communities and of the world religions. It was not only to highlight the condemnation — by all religious people — of terrorism with a fundamentalist stamp, but also to witness that religions as such are committed to fostering an atmosphere of peace, justice and brotherhood in the world, and have no desire to be exploited by clashes between nations, peoples or cultures.

“In particular we wish to bring Christians and Muslims together to proclaim to the world that religion must never be a reason for conflict, hatred and violence” (Reflection prior to the Angelus, 18 November 2001; ORE, 21 November 2001, p. 1). The Pope asked people to prepare for that meeting with a day of fasting. This was meaningfully set at a time near the end of the month of Ramadan.

The Day of Prayer for Peace in the World was held in Assisi on 24 January 2002. On that occasion, as distinct from the public prayer of the different religions that characterized the meeting in 1986, there was a desire to emphasize the solemn commitment to peace. Each religious group had the opportunity to pray in suitable environments in the Franciscan convent, whereas the Christians gathered in the Lower Basilica. These decisions stemmed from the common wish not to offer a pretext for irenic interpretations of the meeting of members of different religions.

At the common gathering in Piazza San Francesco they listened to testimonies favouring peace and, in the afternoon, a solemn commitment was proclaimed, shared by everyone present. Still today the text retains its full validity: it condemned violence and terrorism that are contrary to an authentic religious spirit; and expressed the desire to teach reciprocal esteem and respect and to promote the culture of dialogue between individuals and peoples, to live the encounter with the differences of others as an opportunity for better reciprocal understanding. It affirmed the desire for forgiveness, the commitment to overcome the errors and prejudices of the past; and it adopted the cause of the poorest and most neglected. The text ended with an appeal to the leaders of nations to spare no efforts in consolidating a world of solidarity and peace based on justice.

The condemnation of violence and terrorism perpetrated in the name of religion introduced into the interreligious meeting an element that may not have been new but was experienced at the time with special intensity: the need for purification, which every religious tradition must assume as it faces other religious traditions and indeed the world. Even the practice of religion is exposed to the consequences of evil, of sin, and can be distorted. Gathering together also means being willing to forgive one another and to purify one’s own way of living the religious dimension. The exchange of the embrace of peace among those present with which the Day in 2002 concluded was an eloquent expression of this willingness.

Twenty-five years have now passed since the first historic meeting in Assisi. The world has undergone profound transformations. Why return to the town of the “Poverello”?

The answer is simple: the world changes but the aspirations of the human heart endure and, today especially, the religious dimension is proving to be an indispensable element for the defence and promotion of peace.

Pope Benedict XVI has made a new appointment with the leaders of the Churches, of Christian communities and of the world’s major religions, first of all in order to commemorate the event of 1986. It truly opened a new era in relations between people of different religions; it enabled them all to realize that an exchange with others is a necessity that no religious person can ignore.

Yet, of course, they will not only gather in order to remember the past but also to look ahead. What are the challenges that believers today can expect with regard to building peace? What contribution can each individual and each religious tradition offer, where they work, to the cause of justice? And, on the contrary, what incentive can be received in the effort to work to build a world with greater justice and solidarity by those who have a different belief than one’s own and also by those who express no religious faith but feel committed to this noble cause?

The theme that the Pontiff has suggested for the celebration of the Day — “Pilgrims of Truth, Pilgrims of Peace” — clearly shows what the meeting on 27 October 2011 will mean.

Let us first recognize that we are all integrated into that common journey which is human history. Declaring we are pilgrims means admitting that we have not yet reached the destination or, better, that it always transcends us, constituting the meaning of our journey. Every person of good will feels he is a pilgrim of truth”: he feels he is on the way, because he is aware that truth always exceeds him.

This is why it was decided to give a special quality to the next meeting by inviting to Assisi some well-known figures of the worlds of science and culture, who do not profess to be religious. And this is not only because building peace is a responsibility of all, believers and non-believers alike. At a deeper level, we are convinced that the position of those who do not believe or find it difficult to believe can play a salutary role for religion as such, for example, by helping to identify possible forms of degeneration or the lack of authenticity. Traces of this “enlightenment” rightly understood are present in the biblical tradition itself, which is strongly critical of forms of worship that do not bring people close to God but rather alienate them.



As Christians, we profess that in Christ we have received the full and definitive revelation of the Face of God; we know that this gift of salvation is for everyone and we ardently long for the Father’s plan of love to be manifest and brought about in its wholeness. We know well, however, that we shall never be able to plumb the depths of the mystery of Christ. And that is not all. We recognize that our frailty can at times dull the splendour of the treasure that has been revealed to us and make it more difficult to know. Having received the truth as a gift does not, therefore, prevent us from feeling that we are the travelling companions of every man and woman.

The Day of Assisi will take place under the banner of those elements which already characterized the first meeting 25 years ago: prayer, fasting and pilgrimage.

Prayer will be experienced, above all in the dimension of silence and inner recollection to which it has been desired to give priority over the public forms of prayer of each tradition, in continuity with what already happened at the meeting in 2002. The concern to avoid even giving an impression of any form of relativism is not solely Catholic and is particularly understandable in today’s cultural context, many aspects of which are refractory to the question of truth and for this reason inclined to an undifferentiated and ultimately irrelevant presentation of the religious phenomenon. This does not diminish the profound conviction that prayer remains the essential contribution that religious people can make to the cause of peace. Pope Benedict XVI will preside at a Prayer Vigil for Peace on the previous evening with the faithful of the Diocese of Rome, inviting the bishops and faithful of the whole world to join him.

The second element of the Day is fasting, which will be only partially interrupted by a modest meal, to express brotherhood among those present. The fast will signify the penitential dimension that the meeting also wishes to assume, the conviction of always being disposed to a process of purification.

The last element is pilgrimage. It will be symbolized by the train journey of the delegations from Rome to Assisi, and by the climb in the afternoon, by all the participants, from the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli to the now historic square where the previous meetings concluded. We shall walk together along the streets of Assisi, just as we walk together every day on the highways of this world, on the highways of history. We will recognize each other as pilgrims of truth, pilgrims of peace, committing ourselves to be builders of a world that is more just and supportive, aware that this task is beyond our own feeble strength and needs to be invoked from on High. These are the sentiments with which we are preparing to accept Pope Benedict xvi’s invitation to return to Assisi.


The Spirit of Assisi

Renzo Allegri, 2011
October 27 marks the 25th anniversary of the first great interreligious meeting in history: the World Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi, Italy; the spirit of the event is being renewed at the same venue by Pope Benedict XVI. 
Pope John Paul II knew that continuous dialogue between different denominations and religions was the most effective means of bringing about mutual understanding and reconciliation. He knew that people who shared belief in a supernatural reality could come together, find common ground, and pray communally for peace. Pope John Paul also knew, however, that only the Roman Pontiff, by virtue of his particular situation and prestige, has sufficient clout among world religious leaders to call a gathering of this kind.

John Paul, therefore, in great apprehension about the level of strife and warfare in the world (it must be remembered that in 1986 the whole of Eastern Europe was under the grip of the former Soviet Union, with its enormous arsenal of nuclear weapons still targeting the West), courageously decided to promote a movement to strengthen the cause of peace throughout the world. He decided that the best place from which to launch this initiative was Assisi, the city of Saint Francis, the saint of universal brotherhood and of love for all creatures.

In this way on 27 October, 1986, Pope John Paul II succeeded, for the first time in history, in bringing together 160 religious leaders from all over the world: Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox Christians, as well as representatives of Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, African and North American animists, Shintoism, Zoroastrianism and Baha’i. They represented 32 Christian religious organizations and 11 other non-Christian world religions.
The meeting was a milestone event which gave enormous impetus to the worldwide peace movement, and at the conclusion of the event, Pope John Paul said, “For the first time in history, we have come together from everywhere, Christian Churches and Ecclesial Communities, and World Religions, in this sacred place dedicated to Saint Francis, to witness before the world, each according to his own conviction, about the transcendent quality of peace”.

Doubts and controversy
There were also, however, reservations about the initiative, even among Catholics. It is believed that initiatives of this kind can open the door to religious syncretism and New Age ideas within the Church, a tendency which is quite widespread among the young. While Pope John Paul was well aware of this danger, he believed that strife throughout the world posed and even greater danger.
In any case, to ward off this hazard, the meeting was organised to the finest detail in such a way that only the purpose for which it was called for would emerge: the common prayer for peace.
The most intense moment of that day occurred in the afternoon in front of the Basilica of Saint Francis, when peace was invoked through the prayers and gestures by those present at the same time. This lasted for about 3 hours, and was broadcast live throughout the world.


Pope Benedict XVI
A quarter of a century has elapsed since that first great event, and the seed of peace that was then sown has continued to grow in a spate of initiatives involving many people, institutions and movements.  Pope John Paul himself has kept the spirit of that first meeting alive by frequent recollections of the event and by organising further encounters. In 1993 he repeated the Day of Prayer to pray for an end to the war in Bosnia, and invited leaders of the Christian, Muslim and Jewish religions. While on January 24, 2002, he organized another World Day of Prayer for Peace, again in Assisi. Some 200 other religious leaders were present, including Roman Catholic cardinals, Muslim clerics, Jewish rabbis, Buddhists, Sikhs, Baha’is, Hindus, Jains, Zoroastrians and members of African traditional religions. Following the September 11, 2001, terrorism attacks, the event intended to discourage making religion a motive for conflict in the 21st century.
Pope Benedict XVI has decided to renew the ‘spirit of Assisi’ with another gathering to mark the 25th anniversary of the original encounter, and he will personally preside over it. The announcement was given on January 1 this year (the 44th World Day of Peace) when, just after the Angelus, Benedict said, “Dear brothers and sisters, in my Message for today’s World Day of Peace I have had the opportunity to emphasize that the great religions can constitute an important factor of unity and peace for the human family. In this regard, moreover, I recalled that this year, 2011, is the 25th anniversary of the World Day of Prayer for Peace which Venerable John Paul II convoked in Assisi in 1986.
“Therefore next October I shall go as a pilgrim to the town of St Francis, inviting my Christian brethren of various denominations, and the exponents of the world’s religious traditions to join this Pilgrimage and ideally all men and women of good will. It will aim to commemorate the historical action desired by my Predecessor, and to solemnly renew the commitment of believers of every religion to live their own religious faith as a service to the cause of peace”.
Father Giuseppe Piemontese
Needless to say, an impressive organisational team is planning the event down to the finest detail. However, as with the original meeting, the aim of the reunion is not that of organising anything of a sensational or spectacular nature, but merely to pray together and to invoke God’s help from above. The theme of the event is: Pilgrims of Truth, Pilgrims of Peace.
This journalist has sought to gain additional information on the upcoming event by interviewing a man with extensive knowledge on past and present peace initiatives: Father Giuseppe Piemontese, Custodian of the Basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi and of the annexed Sacro Convento, the venue for both this year’s meeting as well as the original 1986 event.
Father Giuseppe was formerly Minister Provincial of the Puglia Province in Italy, and was elected General Custodian of the Sacred Convent of Assisi in 2009. He is one of the principal organisers of the event, and proved a valuable source of information.
Father Giuseppe, the expression ‘Spirit of Assisi’ has become synonymous with any peace initiative of an interreligious nature. When did this expression come into being?
The first to use this phrase was Pope John Paul himself during a speech on 29 October 1986. The Pope had just received a group of representatives of some non-Christian religions who had been with him in Assisi two days before, and who, before returning home, wished to see him again. John Paul reminded them of the importance of the Assisi event, and thanked them for their participation. He then concluded his speech with these words, “You are about to return to your various homes and centres. I thank you again for coming and I wish you a safe journey. Let us continue to spread the message of peace. Let us continue to live the spirit of Assisi”.
From that time on, our late Pope frequently used this expression because he believed it effectively conveyed the essence of what the Second Vatican Council wanted to say in the document Lumen Gentium (Light of the Nations), where the Church is presented as a “sign and instrument both of a very closely knit union with God and of the unity of the whole human race” (Lumen Gentium 1), and in particular in the document Nostra Aetate (In Our Age), which treats the issue of ecumenism and the relationship between Christianity and the other religions.
The ‘Spirit of Assisi’ can be summarised in these three points: the inestimable value of peace and the responsibility of the world’s religions towards achieving it; the awareness of the importance of prayer in obtaining the gift of peace; the necessity of getting to know and to respect other human beings, irrespective of their faiths.
All saints are promoters of peace. Yet when John Paul decided to promote the meeting he opted for Saint Francis and Assisi. Why this choice?
Saint Francis is the saint which, more than any other, lived the Gospel in the fullest way possible by becoming ‘a living image of Christ crucified’. His human and Christian experience, with its high spirituality and artistic elements, incarnate that ideal man which still arouses admiration in all men and women today, irrespective of race, culture and religion.
Francis’ search for peace is proverbial and characteristic of his whole life. The formula with which he greeted people, given to him by God himself, is: May the Lord give you peace!
What episodes from Francis own life best demonstrate his special vocation for ecumenism and peace-building?
There are quite a few, but perhaps the best are: the conversion of the brigands at Mount Casale; his encounter with Sultan Malik al-Kamil at Damietta, Egypt, while the crusaders were besieging that town; the pacification of Siena; and the pacification between the bishop of Assisi and the mayor of Assisi. These episodes clearly demonstrate the Saint’s enormous courage and his capacity to connect with people of any race, class, religion and culture.

The 1986 initiative received sharp criticism from some Catholics who feared it would open the door to syncretism and religious relativism within the Church. Even today these voices can be heard. What basis do they have?
There are groups within the Church who believe we should have no relationship at all with people of other faiths. They seem to be unaware that it is possible to establish warm and positive relationships with people of other faiths without losing one iota of one’s own Catholic identity and beliefs.
The risk of relativism and syncretism was resolved by our late Pope when he pointed out, in his speech to the Roman Curia of December 22, 1986, that at Assisi everything had been done “without the slightest shadow of confusion and syncretism”.
On that occasion the Polish Pope specifically highlighted the value of prayer in the company of other people as an effective way of promoting peace. It was, he said, a means whereby every person can find the roots of peace and goodness inherent in humanity’s great religions. Besides, Vatican II actually exhorts Catholics to engage courageously in ecumenical and interreligious dialogue with people of other faiths, and at Assisi Pope John Paul, without the slightest shade of theological confusion, simply carried out the instructions contained in the Vatican II documents.
You Conventual Franciscans are deeply involved in the Assisi meetings because the events were hosted in the spiritual heart of your own Order. What influence has the initiative had to your personal and community life?
The ‘Spirit of Assisi’ has led us to rethink some of our attitudes and practices here at the Sacro Convento. We have moved on from an attitude of defending ourselves to the more courageous stance of launching new proposals. The first effect of the meeting was to encourage us to promote and favour dialogue and encounters with people of other religions, and even with non-believers.
These encounters have been on theological issues as well as on more practical areas such as the promotion of peace, the promotion of the human being, justice and the safeguard of creation. A number of important events are being held around these topics in the run up to the anniversary of the first meeting in October 1986.
The first meeting in Assisi produced a spate of similar initiatives throughout the world. How do you see this reawakening of the spirit of peace?
Anything that helps to bring down barriers and walls between people and communities is good in itself and a gift of the Holy Spirit. Today, the rallying cry of those wishing to promote peace is ‘dialogue!’, dialogue at all levels and at all costs, without ever losing hope and determination. In our globalised, cosmopolitan societies we are ‘compelled’, as it were, to engage in dialogue with one another, whether we like it or not. So the best way to do this is to engage in sincere dialogue with all peoples and faiths, and at the same time to witness to our faith in Jesus Christ and to our love for the human being who was created in God’s image, as well as to our love for all creatures “which bear the imprint of the Most High” as stated in the Rule for the Third Order.
The Spirit of Assisi has also greatly boosted tourism in Assisi. What changes have you noted?
Assisi draws so many people simply because it is filled by the spiritual presence of Saint Francis, a universal brother, an ‘alter Christus‘ (other Christ), and God’s instrument of peace. Obviously, not all tourists actually come here for this reason; many come simply to admire the works of art that the Saint’s spirituality has inspired. Nevertheless, from the beauty of the churches here, and the masterpieces they contain, these people draw something of the climate of peace that pervades this town.
Specifically, what peace initiatives has your Order promoted at the Sacro Convento?
Even before the 1986 meeting we hosted numerous interreligious meetings here, and we also organised other peace initiatives around the world through the Centro Ecumenico del Sacro Convento.
Massimiliano Mizzi, OFM Conv., who died in 2008, was a tireless promoter of peace initiatives and interreligious dialogue as head of the Centro Ecumenico del Sacro Convento, and the Centre is still pursuing the same goal in a spate of continuous initiatives. In other parts of the world there are another seven centres working for peace and dialogue sponsored by us Conventuals.
You are among the organisers of the upcoming meeting. Can you tell us what is going to happen on that day?
On the night of 26 October there is a prayer vigil presided over by Pope Benedict XVI at St Peter’s. I will be attended by the faithful of the Diocese of Rome, and other religious communities throughout the world are invited to organise similar events.
On the morning of 27 October the Holy Father, along with the leaders of other religions, and a small committee of non-believers, is travelling by train from Rome all the way to Assisi as a ‘pilgrim of truth’ and as a ‘pilgrim of peace’. On their arrival, they will be received by the authorities of the city.
In the first part of the day, in the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels on the outskirts of the city, there will be a commemoration of the 25 year anniversary through the viewing of a video and a series of speeches held by representatives of those present, after which Benedict himself will give a speech.



This will be followed by a frugal meal to highlight solidarity with the millions throughout the world who are suffering hunger as a consequence of war. There will then be a time of silence for personal meditation and prayer.
In the afternoon a march will take place starting from the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels which will wind its way throughout the city all the way up to the Basilica of Saint Francis. This walk symbolises the path that every human being must make in his or her search for truth and the construction of justice and peace. It will take place in silence to give participants the opportunity to meditate and pray during the walk.
The final part of the event will take place in the square facing the Basilica of Saint Francis, when the representatives of all the major world religions as well as non-believers will solemnly renew their common commitment to peace.
Finally, the Holy Father, and those delegates who desire it, will visit the Tomb of Saint Francis, after which the Pope will return to Rome by train.


The Spirit of Assisi, 1986 – 2011: Becoming Instruments of Peace in a Divided World

Bro. Michael A. Perry, OFM Vicar General Order of Friars Minor, Rome, 2011

Dear Brothers,

In his address to representatives of sixty Christian Churches, Ecclesial Communities and the World’s Religions at the Basilica of St. Francis on October 27, 1986, Pope John Paul II provides us with a clear idea of the true ‘spirit’ of Assisi:

For the first time in history, we have come together from everywhere, Christian Churches and Ecclesial Communities, and World Religions, in this sacred place dedicated to St. Francis, to witness before the world, each according to his [or her] own conviction, about the transcendent quality of peace…The very fact that we have come to Assisi from various quarters of the world is itself a sign of this common path which humanity is called to tread. Either we learn to walk together in peace and harmony, or we drift apart and ruin ourselves and others.

What gave rise to this historic event in Assisi? Why did John Paul II choose Assisi? What actually took place during the event? What has transpired over the course of the past 25 years since that historic day and how has the dialogue for peace continued? What might we expect from the celebration in Assisi and around the world on October 27, 2011? And what has this to do with the practice of our faith, our hope and our love today? Let us briefly explore each of these questions in the light of the Gospel and the prophetic call of St. Francis of Assisi to be instruments of peace. While it might be difficult to actually identity the primary motives and precipitating events that led John Paul II to undertake the 1986 initiative for dialogue with the other major religious traditions in Assisi, I would like to point to four, which I believe informed his thinking and directed his action. These four include: the actual conditions of division and violence present in the world, particularly in his native country and the region of Eastern Europe, provoked in part by appeal to a distorted view of the purpose and ends of religious identity and action; the inspiration and challenge of the documents of the Second Vatican Council, focusing on human dignity, religious freedom, and the presence and action of the Spirit in a grace-filled but deeply wounded world; the prophetic witness to peace, reconciliation and dialogue in the person of St. Francis of Assisi; and the unanticipated and ever-renewing action of Holy Spirit in the life of the Church and all of humanity.. In the several years and months immediately prior to the October 1986 gathering, the Pope witnessed a world torn asunder by cultural, religious, historical and economic violence. In his native Poland, movements of solidarity demanding new freedoms were met with violent repression. Cultural, ethnic and religious-based violent conflicts raged in Northern Ireland, Sudan, Central and Southern Africa, the Philippines, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tibet and elsewhere in the world. The expansion of nuclear testing in the early and mid-1980s increased tensions between the two ‘blocs’, East (Russia) and West (United States). The Eastern bloc found itself under increasing pressure from within and without and would witness its own demise, symbolized most clearly by the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Ever- increasing conflicts between Israelis and Palestinians produced scores of innocent victims and contributed directly the rise and expansion of fundamentalism and terrorism throughout the region of the Middle East. These same winds of religiously-justified violence would come to dominate world politics twenty years later. Political violence in Latin America increased exponentially during this same period, as did gross violations of human rights and the execution of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians. Far from being considered a positive force for human rights and dignity, the Church, and religion in general, were increasingly accused of being either guilty bystanders or active partners to the violence. In all of this, John Paul II witnessed a world increasingly moving in the direction of self-destruction, leaving in its wake a ‘culture of death’. Religion, far from playing a positive role, oftentimes contributed to the violence by providing justification and the promise of reward to those who undertook actions that led to increased divisions, hatred, and violence, and the promotion of a radically perverse understanding of the intentions of God for the world and for the human community. A second source of inspiration for the Spirit of Assisi gathering was the spiritual reflection on the Church and the world that emerged from the Second Vatican Council and that marked the thinking of John Paul II in a particular way. The documents of the Council, particularly On the Church in the Modern World, Declaration on Religious Freedom, Guidelines on Religious Relations with the Jews, Decree on Ecumenism, and the Decree on the Missionary Activity of the Church, encouraged the Church to step out in faith to a world in need of leadership, vision, compassion, healing, reconciliation and love. As a participant bishop at the Second Vatican Council, Bishop/Archbishop Wojtyla make major contributions to the Church’s thinking on the relationship between the Church and the world, between the Catholic faith and the religious visions and practices of others who were intent on seeking God. Thus, the ecumenical, interfaith and interreligious dialogue encouraged by Vatican II was translated into encounter, respect and dialogue by John Paul II during his visits to regions where Catholics and Christians were a minority.




We might recall that in India in February, 1986, the Pope met with the Dalai Lama. He also met with Muslim and Hindu leaders to discuss the urgent need for tolerance, peace and reconciliation in Asia. While it is true that John Paul II’s thinking about the Church and other religious traditions was deeply grounded in his philosophical and theological understandings of the nature, dignity and destiny of human nature, the actual inter-religious encounters and dialogue with peoples of very different religious and socio-cultural backgrounds helped further shape his understanding of the critical role that religion can and should play in the promotion of worldwide peace and harmony. It is also quite likely that these encounters further emboldened him to undertake such a daring and widely criticized action as calling for religious leaders to meet in Assisi to discuss the future of humanity and the planet and to pray for a new dispensation for the world, based in dialogue, understanding, respect and the pursuit of an agenda for peace and reconciliation. A third possible source of inspiration for calling together of the world’s religious leaders by John Paul II was nothing more nor less than the prophetic figure of the prophetic mendicant from Assisi, Francis, who continues to challenge the world to seek peace, respect, dialogue, healing and reconciliation as the Gospel way that leads humanity to God and to all that God loves and cares for, namely, all of humanity and creation. We know from the source documents that Francis was born into a world filled with violence, where relationships of power were created and maintained through the use of force. Francis’ participation in acts of violence, including the taking of human life, provoked a crisis of identity in his own life. Out of this crisis was born the conviction that the mission of the Church was one of peace, dialogue and reconciliation. Francis shared this message with all whom he met: May the Lord give you peace, he boldly proclaimed! It was this inspiration, perhaps more than a desire for martyrdom, that led him to Damietta (Egypt) where he witnessed the violence of ‘holy war’, the Fifth Christian Crusade, pitting Christians against Muslims, for the ‘prize’ of the Holy Land. Francis challenged the Church and the Muslims, in the persons of Archbishop Pelagius and Sheik al-Malik al-Kamil, to stop the senseless killings ‘in the name of God’ and take up the cause of peace. The various pilgrimages to Assisi prior to 1986 undertaken by John Paul II prior to and after assuming his role as pope most probably exposed him to the contagion of Francis who spent his entire converted life seeking the way of peace and restoration. This contagion began with Francis’s own conversion, a conversion that would take him to the social periphery of Assisi, to the poor, the marginalized, to those who pursued greed and power at the cost of he weakest of society, to the port city of Damietta where he would encounter Christians and Muslims alike locked in violence and killing ‘in the name of religion’. As was the case with Francis of Assisi, John Paul II, witnessing the heinous actions that human beings were capable of perpetrating one against the other, accepted the invitation of God to embrace and propagate the goals common to and in the best interest of all of humanity. The Holy Spirit serves as a fourth source of inspiration for John Paul II and his invitation to 160 religious leaders from 32 Christian Churches and Ecclesial Communions and 28 non-Christian religions, to come together to reflect on the urgent need for dialogue, tolerance, forgiveness, and reconciliation, and to pray for the dawn of a new and universal peace. The Holy Spirit has continued to inspire religious leaders around the world to promote the values of the Spirit of Assisi and to sow love where there is hatred, pardon where there is injury, and unity where there are divisions. The Holy See, Franciscans, the Community of Sant’Egidio, the Focolare Movement, dioceses and other religious and lay-based groups have created opportunities for ecumenical and interreligious dialogue and encounters, collaborating in social programs to help the poor, the marginalized, and victims of natural disasters and of ethnic and religious violence, and in public advocacy at the United Nations and at the national political levels. Care for the environment also has found a necessary and fruitful place in the dialogue for peace, in the Spirit of Assisi, particularly given the impact of violence on the movements of peoples and the threat to destruction of the environment because of these human displacements. The call to become disciples of peace and ambassadors of reconciliation remains a permanent challenge for all of us, Catholics, Christians and believers of the world’s other religious traditions, and in a special way for those of us who identify our lives and mission with those of Francis of Assisi. This call to become disciples and ambassadors of peace and reconciliation is not something that we can choose either to accept or reject as central to our following of the Lord Jesus. As John Paul II reminds us in his 1986 exhortation at Assisi, peace is not an option for Christians and those who declare themselves believers in the eternal divine, God.

Peace is a universal responsibility: it comes about through a thousand little acts in daily life. By their daily way of living with others, people choose for or against peace.

John Paul II pursued this conviction of the universal responsibility for peace shared by all of humanity in Assisi to which, once again in 1999, John Paul II invited nearly 200 participants from 20 different religious traditions to assemble for a day of prayer and fasting for peace. The challenge he issued to all followers of the world’s religious traditions continues to speak to Franciscans and all who call themselves children of God:

Any use of religion to support violence is an abuse of religion. Religion is not, and must not become, a pretext for conflict…Religion and peace go together…

As we prepare to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the historic gathering in Assisi on October 27, 2011, with the participation of Pope Benedict XVI who has called all believers to “solemnly renew [their] commitment to live their own proper religious faith as a service for the cause of peace,” may all of us who are disciples of the Lord Jesus, friends with Francis of Assisi, and all people of Good will renew our pledge to be instruments of peace and reconciliation in a world wounded and in search of hope and healing. And may the Spirit of Assisi become for each of us, and for all the nations of the earth, our way of living the peace of God’s kingdom in the world, which is God’s gift to all of humanity and all of creation.


Assisi gives an encore. But revised and corrected



By Sandro Magister, Rome, October 26, 2011

The invitation is extended to nonbelievers, and prayer will be for private rooms. These are the two new features of the new edition of the meeting. Against this backdrop: the year of faith, and the martyrdom of Christians in the world

For the “day of reflection, dialogue, and prayer for peace and justice in the world” that he has convened for tomorrow in Assisi, twenty-five years after the controversial first edition held by his predecessor as pope, Benedict XVI has introduced two new features.

The first is the extension of the invitation, in addition to representatives of the religions of the whole world, to nonbelievers as well. With their presence, the day of Assisi will take the form of a symbolic “courtyard of the Gentiles,” animated not only by the “God-fearers,” but also by those who do not believe in God, without, however, ceasing from searching for him.

The nonbelievers who have agreed to participate in the day of Assisi are the Italian philosopher Remo Bodei, the Mexican philosopher Guillermo Hurtado, the Austrian economist Walter Baier, and the French psychoanalytic philosopher Julia Kristeva, who will be the final speaker during the initial phase of the meeting, after a series of nine talks by religious representatives including ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I and Rabbi David Rosen of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.

After Julia Kristeva, Benedict XVI will speak, in his only talk of the day.


The second new feature is that there will be no moments of visible and organized prayer on the part of those present, neither as a group nor in parallel, as instead happened in 1986 with the various religious groups meeting in prayer in various places of the city of Saint Francis.

Tomorrow, in simple fashion, after the “frugal lunch” in the convent of Saint Mary of the Angels, the approximately three hundred guests will be assigned individual rooms in the guest house next to the convent, for a “time of silence, for reflection and/or personal prayer.”

This period of silence will last about an hour and a half. One thinks of the passage of the Sermon on the Mount in which Jesus says: “But you, when you pray, go to your room and close the door, and pray to your Father in secret, and your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you” open (Matthew 6:6).


Both of these new features make the day of Assisi convened by Benedict XVI different from the first one of John Paul II and the subsequent reiterations, both on the part of the pope, in 1993 and 2002, and on the part of the Community of Sant’Egidio, almost once a year, the latest in Munich last September.

As a cardinal, Joseph Ratzinger did not participate in the encounter of Assisi in 1986. He never criticized it in public, but his absence was interpreted as a distancing of himself from the ambiguities that the initiative unquestionably produced, inside and outside of the Catholic Church.

After the encounter in 1986, a formula emerged that ignited both the enthusiasm of one part of the Catholic world and the serious reservations of many others: the “spirit of Assisi.”

John Paul II used this formula for the first time shortly after the first encounter in Assisi, and after this he re-used it repeatedly.

Benedict XVI, however, has been extremely circumspect in his use of it: if memory serves, no more than twice, and the first time precisely in order to liberate it from bad interpretations.

It was September of 2006, and the Community of Sant’Egidio had convened its annual interreligious meeting precisely in Assisi, at the eighth centenary of the death of Saint Francis.

Benedict XVI, invited to participate in it, declined the invitation. But he wrote a letter to the bishop of Assisi, in conjunction of the opening of the meeting.

At a certain point in the letter, he says:

“In order not to misinterpret the meaning of what John Paul II wanted to achieve in 1986 and what, to use his own words, he habitually called the ‘spirit of Assisi,’ it is important not to forget the attention paid on that occasion to ensuring that the interreligious Prayer Meeting did not lend itself to syncretist interpretations founded on a relativistic concept.

“For this very reason, John Paul II declared at the outset: ‘The fact that we have come here does not imply any intention of seeking a religious consensus among ourselves or of negotiating our faith convictions. Neither does it mean that religions can be reconciled at the level of a common commitment in an earthly project which would surpass them all. Nor is it a concession to relativism in religious beliefs.’

“I would like to reaffirm this principle which constitutes the premise for the interreligious dialogue that the Second Vatican Council was hoping for, as is expressed in the Declaration on the Relations of the Church to Non-Christian Religions (cf. Nostra Aetate, n. 2).

“I gladly take this opportunity to greet the representatives of other religions who are taking part in one or other of the Assisi commemorations. Like us Christians, they know that in prayer it is possible to have a special experience of God and to draw from it effective incentives for dedication to the cause of peace.

“However, here too, it is only right to avoid an inappropriate confusion. Therefore, even when we are gathered together to pray for peace, the prayer must follow the different uses proper to the various religions. This was the decision in 1986 and it continues to be valid also today. The convergence of differences must not convey an impression of surrendering to that relativism which denies the meaning of truth itself and the possibility of attaining it.”





Not only that. In order to understand the meaning that Benedict XVI wants to give to the day of Assisi, it is necessary to keep in mind at least two other facts.

The first is that on the eve of the meeting in Assisi, Pope Ratzinger has announced a “year of faith.” The pope will make it coincide not only with the fiftieth anniversary of the beginning of Vatican Council II, but also and more importantly with the twentieth anniversary of the launching of that encyclopedia of the doctrine of the faith which is the Catechism of the Catholic Church, audaciously envisioned by John Paul II and still too much overlooked.

The proclamation of the “year of faith” goes hand-in-hand with another decision characteristic of this pontificate: that of the “new evangelization.” Which does not concern only the countries of ancient Christian tradition buffeted by the waves of secularism, including in Latin America, but also the places where Christianity has never arrived, in need of a new missionary impulse.

It is evident that this primary objective of the pontificate of Benedict XVI is incompatible with a “spirit of Assisi” that out of love for peace would be translated into a disarming of the proclamation of faith in Christ as the one savior.


Moreover, the peaceful assembly in Assisi of representatives of the religions does not change the fact that in various places of the world faiths are in conflict, and Christians in particular are among those most in danger.

Two recent events are emblematic of this dramatic reality: the massacre of dozens of Coptic Christians in Cairo on the part of Muslim extremists and of the army itself, and the killing of a missionary, Fr. Fausto Tentorio, in the Philippines.

The embrace of peace in Assisi is all the more significant against this backdrop.

Just as other similar signs of peace are significant. One of these took place in Milan last October 21.

Precisely as the “indignant” were seething in many cities all over the world, four thousand young people marched peacefully through the streets of Milan to urge public initiatives for famished peoples.

And they raised the effigy of Fr. Tentorio, the latest of the martyrs, a life spent for the proclamation of the kingdom of God to the poor, a modern-day Saint Francis.


The Truth about Assisi. Never-Before-Seen Words from Benedict XVI

By Sandro Magister, Rome, October 26, 2011

The following is an extract from a letter written by Benedict XVI on March 4, 2011 to Lutheran pastor Peter Beyerhaus, a longtime friend who had told him about his fears over the new convocation of the day of Assisi:

“I understand very well,” the pope writes, “your concern about participating in the encounter of Assisi. But this commemoration would have been celebrated in any case, and, in the end, it seemed to me the best thing to go there personally, in order to try to determine the overall direction. Nonetheless, I will do everything I can to make a syncretistic or relativistic interpretation of the event impossible, and to make it clear that I will always believe and confess what I had called the Church’s attention to with ‘Dominus Iesus’.”

This is the original German of the passage from the letter:

“Ihre Sorge angesichts meiner Teilnahme an dem Assisi-Jubiläum verstehe ich sehr gut. Aber dieses Gedenken mußte auf jeden Fall gefeiert werden, und nach allem Überlegen erschien es mir als das Beste, wenn ich selbst dort hingehe und damit versuchen kann, die Richtung des Ganzen zu bestimmen. Jedenfalls werde ich alles tun, damit eine synkretistische oder relativistische Auslegung des Vorgangs unmöglich wird und klar bleibt, daß ich weiterhin das glaube und bekenne, was ich als Schreiben ‘Dominus Jesus’ der Kirche in Erinnerung gerufen hatte.”

These never-before-seen words from pope Joseph Ratzinger were made public last October 1, with the authorization of the recipient of the letter, Pastor Beyerhaus, at the beginning of a conference organized in Rome by the association “Catholica Spes” on the meaning of the encounter in Assisi.

And previously, Beyerhaus had referred to it in an interview with the German newspaper “Kirchliche Umschau” last April.

But the matter went unnoticed. Only on the eve of the October 27 encounter was it revisited and reissued by a few traditionalist websites.

One of the speakers at the conference was Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, prefect of the supreme tribunal of the apostolic signatura, who said among other things:

“There are a number of dangers that such an encounter could bring in terms of the mass media communication of the event, of which – as it is clear – the pontiff is well aware. The means of mass media communication will say, even with the images alone, that all religions have come together to ask God for peace. A poorly formed Christian could draw from this the gravely mistaken conclusion that one religion is as good as another, and that Jesus Christ is one of the many mediators of salvation.”

For an overview of the day to be celebrated tomorrow in Assisi, see the following article from www.chiesa:

Disputed Questions – Like Salvation Outside of the Church


Official program for the interreligious meeting in Assisi (October 27, 2011) (Dialogue Centre International)

October 27, 2011

Here is the official program for the interreligious meeting in Assisi on October 27, 2011, as it was announced at the time when this issue went to press. 



In the next issue of DICI we will analyze precisely how this gathering played out and study the statements that will have been made by the various speakers during this “Day of reflection, dialogue and prayer for peace and justice in the world” on the specific topic:  “Pilgrims of truth, pilgrims of peace”.

Wednesday, October 26, St. Peter’s Square in Rome, at 10:30 a.m., a liturgy of the Word will replace the general audience.

Thursday, October 27, at 7:30 a.m., the representatives of the various religious will board the Frecciargento train, which will not carry any journalists.  Indeed, the press offices will be located in Assisi.  At 7:50 the pope arrives by automobile at the Vatican station.  The train is scheduled to depart at 8:00; the heads of the most important delegations travel in the pope’s car.

The anticipated time of arrival in Assisi is 9:45 a.m.  The delegates leave the train to board a bus that brings them to the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels.  The pope will get off the train last and will be greeted by the Italian authorities.  He will be welcomed by Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino, the Archbishop of Assisi-Nocera Umbra-Gualdo Tadino.  A representative from the government will be present, Gianni Letta, undersecretary at the headquarters of the Council of Ministers, as well as the Italian ambassador to the Holy See, Francesco Maria Greco, and the mayor of Assisi, Claudio Ricci.  The railway station chief for the station “Santa Maria degli Angeli”, Massimo Antonini, will also participate in this welcoming ceremony.

At 10:15 the delegations are seated in the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels.  Pilgrims will be able to follow the proceedings on giant screens outside the basilica.  □□ Benedict XVI will be greeted on the plaza in front of the basilica by Fr. José Rodríguez Carballo, Minister General of the Friars Minor; Fr. Marco Tasca, Minister General of the Conventual Friars Minor, Fr. Mauro Jöhri, Minister General of the Capuchin Friars Minor, and Fr. Michael J. Higgins, Minister General of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis.

At the portal of the basilica, the pope in turn will welcome all the heads of the delegations, who will be presented to him by the cardinals whose dicasteries are involved in this interreligious meeting.  All then will take their places on a platform.  Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, will pronounce a word of welcome before the projection of a video commemorating the 1986 meeting. Next will follow speeches by Bartholomew I, Archbishop of Constantinople, Rowan Williams, Primate of the Anglican Communion, and Norvan Zakarian, Primate of the Armenian Diocese in France.

After a brief selection of organ music, the speeches will continue with Olav Fykse Tveit, Secretary General of the World Council of Churches, Rabbi David Rosen, a representative of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, and Wande Abimbola, a delegate for the Yoruba cult and the Ifa method of divination.  Originally from the region of Nigeria, Togo and Benin, Yoruba has developed on the American continent.  Some of its deities, which represent the forces of nature, the orishas, are found also in voodoo.  It has been registered on UNESCO’s representative list of Humanity’s Intangible Cultural Heritage since 2008.  (Editor’s note)

The next speakers will be Acharya Shri Shrivatsa Goswami, a representative of Hinduism, Ja-Seung, President of the “Jogye Order” of Korean Buddhism, Kyai Haji Hasyim Muzadi, Secretary General of the International Conference of Islamic Schools, and Julia Kristeva, a French psychoanalyst of Bulgarian extraction, representing non-believers. 

At the conclusion, Benedict XVI will take the podium.

At 12:30 p.m. the pope and the heads of delegations will enter the convent of the Portiuncula.

At 1:00 p.m. then will have a frugal lunch in the refectories of the convent of Santa Maria degli Angeli.

From 1:45 and 3:30 will be a time of silence for reflection and/or personal prayer. One room in the guest house adjacent to the convent of Santa Maria degli Angeli will be assigned to each of the participants.

At 1:45 young people will set out from the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels toward St. Francis Square, the place where the preceding gatherings were held.

At 3:15 the delegations are bused to St. Francis Square, where each one immediately goes to the sector reserved for it.

At 3:45 Benedict XVI and the heads of the delegations travel by bus to St. Francis Square.

At 4:30 Conclusion:
– A word from Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.
– Solemn renewal of the Commitment to Peace, which will be read against a musical background.
– Speeches by Bartholomew I, then by the World Lutheran Federation, the Sikh, Patriarch Aleksandr of Moscow, the Muslims, Metropolitan Gregorios of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch, Taoists, Buddhists, Shintoists, a rabbi;  also by Setri Nyomi of the World Communion of Reformed Churches and by Guillermo Hurtado, representing non-believers.
– The conclusion by Benedict XVI will be followed by a moment of silence.  Then a lamp will be lighted and given to the delegation heads.
– Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, will say a word before the exchange of a sign of peace among the delegates.
– During the pope’s departure, the Canticle of Creation by St. Francis of Assisi will be sung.

At 6:00 pm the pope and the heads of delegations who wish to do so will stop briefly before the tomb of St. Francis.  □□

At 7:00 pm departure of the train to Rome.  Expected time of arrival at the Vatican station – 8:30.

Friday, October 28 at 11:30 a.m.:  Meeting of Benedict XVI with the delegations of various religions, followed at 1:00 p.m. by a luncheon hosted by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State, in Paul VI Hall at the Vatican.  (Sources: VIS/Zenit – DICI no. 243 dated October 28, 2011)





The Commandment of Assisi: “Purify your own faith”

Assisi, October 27, 2011

This is the way “so that the true God becomes accessible.” The speech of pope Joseph Ratzinger to the “pilgrims of truth” gathered in the city of Saint Francis.

By Pope Benedict XVI

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Distinguished Heads and Representatives of Churches, Ecclesial Communities and World Religions,

Dear Friends,

Twenty-five years have passed since Blessed Pope John Paul II first invited representatives of the world’s religions to Assisi to pray for peace. What has happened in the meantime? What is the state of play with regard to peace today?

At that time the great threat to world peace came from the division of the earth into two mutually opposed blocs. A conspicuous symbol of this division was the Berlin Wall which traced the border between two worlds right through the heart of the city.

In 1989, three years after Assisi, the wall came down, without bloodshed. Suddenly the vast arsenals that stood behind the wall were no longer significant. They had lost their terror. The peoples’ will to freedom was stronger than the arsenals of violence. The question as to the causes of this dramatic change is complex and cannot be answered with simple formulae. But in addition to economic and political factors, the deepest reason for the event is a spiritual one: behind material might there were no longer any spiritual convictions.

The will to freedom was ultimately stronger than the fear of violence, which now lacked any spiritual veneer. For this victory of freedom, which was also, above all, a victory of peace, we give thanks. What is more, this was not merely, nor even primarily, about the freedom to believe, although it did include this. To that extent we may in some way link all this to our prayer for peace.

But what happened next? Unfortunately, we cannot say that freedom and peace have characterized the situation ever since. Even if there is no threat of a great war hanging over us at present, nevertheless the world is unfortunately full of discord. It is not only that sporadic wars are continually being fought – violence as such is potentially ever present and it is a characteristic feature of our world. Freedom is a great good. But the world of freedom has proved to be largely directionless, and not a few have misinterpreted freedom as somehow including freedom for violence. Discord has taken on new and frightening guises, and the struggle for freedom must engage us all in a new way.

Let us try to identify the new faces of violence and discord more closely. It seems to me that, in broad strokes, we may distinguish two types of the new forms of violence, which are the very antithesis of each other in terms of their motivation and manifest a number of differences in detail.


Firstly there is terrorism, for which in place of a great war there are targeted attacks intended to strike the opponent destructively at key points, with no regard for the lives of innocent human beings, who are cruelly killed or wounded in the process. In the eyes of the perpetrators, the overriding goal of damage to the enemy justifies any form of cruelty. Everything that had been commonly recognized and sanctioned in international law as the limit of violence is overruled. We know that terrorism is often religiously motivated and that the specifically religious character of the attacks is proposed as a justification for the reckless cruelty that considers itself entitled to discard the rules of morality for the sake of the intended “good”. In this case, religion does not serve peace, but is used as justification for violence.

The post-Enlightenment critique of religion has repeatedly maintained that religion is a cause of violence and in this way it has fuelled hostility towards religions. The fact that, in the case we are considering here, religion really does motivate violence should be profoundly disturbing to us as religious persons. In a way that is more subtle but no less cruel, we also see religion as the cause of violence when force is used by the defenders of one religion against others. The religious delegates who were assembled in Assisi in 1986 wanted to say, and we now repeat it emphatically and firmly: this is not the true nature of religion. It is the antithesis of religion and contributes to its destruction.

In response, an objection is raised: how do you know what the true nature of religion is? Does your assertion not derive from the fact that your religion has become a spent force? Others in their turn will object: is there such a thing as a common nature of religion that finds expression in all religions and is therefore applicable to them all?



We must ask ourselves these questions, if we wish to argue realistically and credibly against religiously motivated violence. Herein lies a fundamental task for interreligious dialogue – an exercise which is to receive renewed emphasis through this meeting.

As a Christian I want to say at this point: yes, it is true, in the course of history, force has also been used in the name of the Christian faith. We acknowledge it with great shame. But it is utterly clear that this was an abuse of the Christian faith, one that evidently contradicts its true nature. The God in whom we Christians believe is the Creator and Father of all, and from him all people are brothers and sisters and form one single family. For us the Cross of Christ is the sign of the God who put “suffering-with” (compassion) and “loving-with” in place of force. His name is “God of love and peace” (2 Cor 13:11). It is the task of all who bear responsibility for the Christian faith to purify the religion of Christians again and again from its very heart, so that it truly serves as an instrument of God’s peace in the world, despite the fallibility of humans.


If one basic type of violence today is religiously motivated and thus confronts religions with the question as to their true nature and obliges all of us to undergo purification, a second complex type of violence is motivated in precisely the opposite way: as a result of God’s absence, his denial and the loss of humanity which goes hand in hand with it.

The enemies of religion – as we said earlier – see in religion one of the principal sources of violence in the history of humanity and thus they demand that it disappear. But the denial of God has led to much cruelty and to a degree of violence that knows no bounds, which only becomes possible when man no longer recognizes any criterion or any judge above himself, now having only himself to take as a criterion. The horrors of the concentration camps reveal with utter clarity the consequences of God’s absence.

Yet I do not intend to speak further here about state-imposed atheism, but rather about the decline of man, which is accompanied by a change in the spiritual climate that occurs imperceptibly and hence is all the more dangerous. The worship of mammon, possessions and power is proving to be a counter-religion, in which it is no longer man who counts but only personal advantage. The desire for happiness degenerates, for example, into an unbridled, inhuman craving, such as appears in the different forms of drug dependency. There are the powerful who trade in drugs and then the many who are seduced and destroyed by them, physically and spiritually. Force comes to be taken for granted and in parts of the world it threatens to destroy our young people. Because force is taken for granted, peace is destroyed and man destroys himself in this peace vacuum.

The absence of God leads to the decline of man and of humanity. But where is God? Do we know him, and can we show him anew to humanity, in order to build true peace? Let us first briefly summarize our considerations thus far. I said that there is a way of understanding and using religion so that it becomes a source of violence, while the rightly lived relationship of man to God is a force for peace. In this context I referred to the need for dialogue and I spoke of the constant need for purification of lived religion. On the other hand I said that the denial of God corrupts man, robs him of his criteria and leads him to violence.


In addition to the two phenomena of religion and anti-religion, a further basic orientation is found in the growing world of agnosticism: people to whom the gift of faith has not been given, but who are nevertheless on the lookout for truth, searching for God.

Such people do not simply assert: “There is no God”. They suffer from his absence and yet are inwardly making their way towards him, inasmuch as they seek truth and goodness.

They are “pilgrims of truth, pilgrims of peace”. They ask questions of both sides. They take away from militant atheists the false certainty by which these claim to know that there is no God and they invite them to leave polemics aside and to become seekers who do not give up hope in the existence of truth and in the possibility and necessity of living by it. But they also challenge the followers of religions not to consider God as their own property, as if he belonged to them, in such a way that they feel vindicated in using force against others.

These people are seeking the truth, they are seeking the true God, whose image is frequently concealed in the religions because of the ways in which they are often practised. Their inability to find God is partly the responsibility of believers with a limited or even falsified image of God. So all their struggling and questioning is in part an appeal to believers to purify their faith, so that God, the true God, becomes accessible.

Therefore I have consciously invited delegates of this third group to our meeting in Assisi, which does not simply bring together representatives of religious institutions. Rather it is a case of being together on a journey towards truth, a case of taking a decisive stand for human dignity and a case of common engagement for peace against every form of destructive force.

Finally I would like to assure you that the Catholic Church will not let up in her fight against violence, in her commitment for peace in the world. We are animated by the common desire to be “pilgrims of truth, pilgrims of peace”.

Assisi, October 27, 2011


The epicenter of Assisi (Dialogue Centre International)

By Fr. Alain Lorans, October 27, 2011

On October 18 the news agency Zenit announced the interreligious meeting in Assisi using an odd term:  “The Franciscan shrine of Assisi will become again, on October 27, the epicenter of the peace movement, following in the footsteps of John Paul II twenty-five years later.” 




The word epicenter denotes the place on the earth’s surface directly above the focus or hypocenter of an earthquake, the place where the subterranean rupture originates.  And since the seismic waves travel the shortest distance to reach the epicenter, this is the spot where they have the most energy and cause the most significant damage.

Epicenter seems inappropriate, unless Zenit had intended an allusion to the earthquake that struck Assisi on September 26, 1997, during which the roof of the Basilica of St. Francis collapsed, killing four persons.

But is this term really inappropriate?  Isn’t the Assisi gathering designed and built right over a profound rupture with the traditional teaching of the Church?  Pius XI declared in Mortalium animos (1928) concerning interreligious meetings:  “Certainly such attempts can nowise be approved by Catholics, founded as they are on that false opinion which considers all religions to be more or less good and praiseworthy, since they all in different ways manifest and signify that sense which is inborn in us all, and by which we are led to God and to the obedient acknowledgment of His rule.”  And Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre wrote to eight cardinals on August 27, 1986:  “The Church is shaken to its very foundations. If faith in the Church, the only ark of salvation, disappears, then the Church herself disappears. All of her strength, all of her supernatural activity is based on this article of our faith.”


Society of St. Pius X: Prayers of reparation for the interreligious meeting in Assisi (Dialogue Centre International)

October 27, 2011

Bishop Bernard Fellay has asked all the rectors of seminaries and district superiors of the Society of Saint Pius X to organize, in reparation for the interreligious meeting in Assisi (October 27, 2011), public exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, Stations of the Cross, celebration of the Mass pro propaganda fidei [for the propagation of the faith], or the recitation of the Rosary, as individual circumstances allow.  These ceremonies are to be accompanied by sermons or conferences explaining the reasons for condemning this new interreligious gathering, while avoiding “anathemas, insults, jibes and sterile polemics”, as Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre wished; instead he invited his priests to pray for their own sanctification and to sanctify souls (Le coup de maître de Satan, Éditions Saint-Gabriel, p. 48).  Fr. Régis de Cacqueray, Superior of the District of France, is having one thousand Masses celebrated for this intention, exhorting “all Catholics to enter into this spirit of expiation, penance and reparation”.

As early as January 11, 2011, Italian Catholic intellectuals had asked Benedict XVI to “flee the spirit of Assisi”.  In an urgent petition, they took up the defense of the Christians being martyred today:  “Most Holy Father, we believe that with a new ‘Assisi 1986’, no Christian in the Orient will be saved: neither in Communist China, nor in North Korea or Pakistan or Iraq… on the contrary, many faithful will not understand why in these countries, people still die as martyrs for not renouncing their encounter not with just any religion, but with Christ. Just as the Apostles died.

“In the face of persecution, there exist political, diplomatic means, personal dialogues between States: may they all take place, and as well as possible. With Your love and Your desire for peace for all men.  But without giving those who wish to sow confusion and to augment religious relativism – the vestibule to all forms of relativism –, such an appetizing opportunity, for the media too, as a second edition of ‘Assisi 1986’.”  (See DICI no. 228 dated January 22, 2011).

On the occasion of the previous meeting in Assisi (January 24, 2002), Bishop Bernard Fellay too had clearly made a distinction between a legitimate diplomatic proceeding to promote peace and an interreligious meeting for peace.  In a communiqué dated January 21, he declared: “The problem does not lie in the object of the prayers—peace. To pray for peace and to seek to establish and strengthen peace between peoples and nations is a good thing in itself. The Catholic liturgy is full of beautiful prayers for peace. We pray these prayers with all our hearts. Moreover, given the fact that the angels announced, on the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ, peace on earth to men of good will, it is totally fitting to ask the faithful to implore the One True God to grant us a gift of such great value at this season of the year.

“The reason for our indignation lies in the confusion, scandal and blasphemy that result from an invitation from the Vicar of Our Lord Jesus Christ, sole mediator between God and man, to other religions to come to Assisi to pray for peace….

“The establishment of civil (political) peace between nations by congresses, discussions, diplomacy, with the intervention of influential persons of different nations and religions, is one thing. It is another to claim to obtain the gift of peace from God by the prayer of all (false) religions. Such an initiative is completely inconsistent with the Catholic faith and goes against the first commandment.…

“It is in keeping with the Masonic plot to establish a grand temple of universal brotherhood above all religions and beliefs, ‘Unity in diversity’ a concept so dear to the New Age and to globalization.”

Two years later, on January 6, 2004, the Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X sent to all the cardinals of the Catholic Church a letter, which accompanied a study entitled From Ecumenism to Silent Apostasy.  In it he declared:  “This ecumenism was the principal reason of a liturgical reform that has been disastrous for the faith and religious practice of the faithful. This ecumenism has revised the Bible, distorting the divinely inspired text in order to present a watered-down version incapable of upholding the Catholic faith. This ecumenism now seeks to found a new Church, of which Cardinal Kasper in a recent conference has given the precise outlines. We can never be in communion with the promoters of such an ecumenism which leads to the dissolution of the Catholic Church, that is, Christ in His Mystical Body, and which destroys the unity of the faith, the true foundation of this communion. We do not want the unity wished by this ecumenism, because it is not the unity wished by God, it is not the unity that characterizes the Catholic Church.




“It is thus this ecumenism that we mean to analyze and denounce by the enclosed document, as we are persuaded that the Church cannot correspond to her divine mission if she does not begin to renounce openly and to firmly condemn this utopia which in the words of Pius XI, ‘completely destroy the foundations of the Catholic faith’ (Mortalium animos, January 6, 1928).

“Conscious of belonging by right to this same Church, and ever desiring to serve her more, we beg of you to do all that is in your power to give to the present Magisterium, as soon as possible, the centuries-old language of the Church, according to which ‘the union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it, for in the past they have unhappily left it.’ The Catholic Church will then become again the lighthouse of truth and the port of salvation in the midst of the world that is headed for ruin because the salt has lost its savor.

“Please believe, your Eminence, that we would not want in any way to take the place of the Holy Father, but rather we await from the Vicar of Christ the energetic measures necessary to liberate the Mystical Body from the morass in which a false ecumenism has sunk her. Only he who has received the full, universal, and supreme authority over the entire Church can perform these salutary acts. From the successor of Peter, we prayerfully hope that he would hear our call for help in distress, and that he would manifest to a heroic degree that charity which was asked of the first Pope when he received his office, the greatest of charity – “Amas Me plus his” – the charity necessary to save the Church.”

Finally, during the conference that he gave at the Congress in Paris sponsored by the Courrier de Rome on January 9, 2011, Bishop Bernard Fellay pointed out the only possible way of removing from the Assisi meeting any suspicion of religious syncretism:  “Assisi has become a symbol. Saying that one is going to celebrate the 25th anniversary of this symbol, even if one attempts to clean it up, to correct it, will not remove the meaning of the symbol. Assisi bears a message, and the only way to delete this message would be for Christ’s Vicar on earth to say, on this occasion, to all other religions: ‘There is only one Name under Heaven given to men by which we must be saved, and it is Our Lord Jesus Christ. Convert!’ If that happens, well then, yes!” 

All the quotations by Bishop Fellay are taken from DICI no. 229 dated February 5, 2011. (Source: FSSPX/MG – DICI no. 243 dated October 28, 2011)


Why Assisi 2011 was a scandal

On October 27, 2011, Pope Benedict held the third inter-religious prayer meeting at Assisi, Italy, renewing the unprecedented scandal first perpetrated by Pope John Paul II on October 27, 1986. What occurred at this event—a simple friendly encounter among men and women of good will? A casual discourse on the divinity of Christ and of His Church?


Assisi 2011: Why is it a scandal?

With the approval of the SSPX’s Superior General, Bishop Bernard Fellay, this text of Fr. Regis de Cacqueray was first published in French on on September 12 (2011). We thank the French District for allowing to publish a translation of this important commentary.

Errare humanum est, perseverare diabolicum! (To err is human, but to persevere is diabolic!)

What will occur this October 27, 2011? A call for conversion to the Catholic Faith? The pope’s declarations clearly indicate what this day will be: the meeting of representatives of all the false religions, called by the pope personally to join in a day of reflection where all are invited to pray for peace. [1]

Certainly, unlike the first Assisi meeting, the prayer is to be silent, though intense. But to what god will these representatives of all the false religions be praying in silence? To what god will they be praying, if not their false gods, since the pope has invited them explicitly to live more deeply “their own religious faith“? [2] To whom will the Muslims be turning, if not the god of Mohammed? To whom will the animists address themselves, if not their idols? How is it conceivable that a pope should call upon the representatives of false religions in their official capacity to participate in a day of personal prayer? This act of the sovereign pontiff constitutes ipso facto a dreadful blasphemy toward God as well as an occasion of scandal for all on earth.


An offense against God Triune and Incarnate

How else should we characterize this religious fair, which gravely offends against the First Commandment: “The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and him only shalt thou serve.“[3] How can anyone entertain the thought that God will be pleased with the Jews who are faithful to their fathers, who crucified the Son of God and deny the Triune God? How could He give ear to prayers addressed to Allah, whose disciples relentlessly persecute Christians? How could He accept the suffrages of all the heretics, schismatics, and apostates who have repudiated His Church, which came from His Son’s open side? How could He be honored by the worship offered to idols by all the animists, pantheists, and other idolaters? How could He hear these prayers when His Son has clearly told us the contrary: “No man comes to the Father but by me“? [4]

That souls in good faith pray to God while still heretics or unbelievers is one thing; God will recognize His own and will guide them to the one true Church. But to invite these men to pray as representatives of the false religions, according to “their own religious faith,” surely signals that they are being invited to pray according to the spirit and in the manner of their false religions.

How can we fail to see in this a supreme insult to God thrice holy? How can we fail to be profoundly indignant at the sight of such a scandal? How can silence be anything but complicity?




The peace of Christ denatured

This exceedingly grave sin equally offends the peace of Jesus Christ. The pope is calling for prayer for peace. But what is the nature of the peace the pope seeks? Is it the cessation of the conflicts that bloody the world? But are we really to believe that prayer to false gods will merit for us, not chastisement, but the blessing of peace among men? Has the primeval Flood been forgotten? Has remembrance been lost of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, whose crime was less grave than that of incredulity? [5] Has the record of the gory destruction of Jerusalem, the wages of the sins of His people, been stricken from the Gospels and from history?

Moreover, of what use would it be to us to purchase temporal peace were we to lose our soul? “Be not afraid of them who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do….Fear ye him who, after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell“. [6] In another connection, how can we fail to see in this prayer for peace a doubtlessly unconscious yet perfidious diversion, for ecumenical ends, of the legitimate aspiration of humanity for civil peace? No, the peace brought by Christ cannot be a worldly peace, the Masonic peace sealed with freedom of conscience.

For in reality the peace for which the current pontiff prays is not merely temporal peace; it is especially religious freedom, [7] the liberty of conscience so often condemned by the popes. [8] This is the prayer intention given by the pope; this is the peace the pope prays for: temporal peace obtained by freedom of conscience.

Is this the peace of Jesus Christ? of the One who died on the cross to affirm His divinity? The peace of Christ is quite different, as far removed from this Masonic idea of peace as charity is from fraternity. The peace of Christ is peace with God, fruit of the redemption of souls by the Blood of His Son and men’s rejection of sin. As for the civil peace communicated by Christ, it is nothing else than the fruit of Christian civilization, molded by Catholic faith and charity.


An odious humiliation of the Church

But if the Triune God and the Sacred Humanity of Christ are gravely offended by this invitation to sin, the immaculate Spouse of Christ, His one Catholic Church, is humiliated publicly. Mocked is the teaching of the Apostles, Popes, Fathers of the Church, the saints, the martyrs, and Catholic princes and heroes. Mocked is the teaching of the Psalmist according to whom “all the gods of the gentiles are devils“;[9] mocked, the formal order of St. John not to greet heretics;[10] mocked, the teaching of a Gregory XVI or a Pius IX,[11] for whom freedom of conscience is a “delirium“; mocked, the formal prohibition by Popes Leo XIII[12] and Pius XI[13] to organize or participate in interreligious congresses; mocked, the martyrdom of a Polyeuctus refusing to sacrifice to idols; mocked, the example of a St. Francis de Sales, writing his Controversies to convert Protestant heretics; mocked, the thousands of missionaries who gave up everything for the salvation of the souls of infidels; mocked, the heroic deed of a Charles Martel, halting Islam at Poitiers, or of a Godefroy de Bouillon, forcing his way by lance and sword into Jerusalem; mocked, a St. Louis of France, who punished blasphemy.

How can a Catholic imbued with the spirit of Assisi still subscribe to the dogma “Outside the Church no salvation”? How can he see in the Catholic Church the one ark of salvation? What’s more, this scandal comes from the highest sacred authority on earth, from the Vicar of Jesus Christ himself, as if the gravity of such a gathering were not enough. Does this not make of the Pope, presiding over this meeting, not the head of the Catholic Church but the head of a “Church” of the United Nations, the primus inter pares of a religion of all the religions, essentially identical with the Masonic cult of the Great Architect of the Universe? Is this not a satanic perversion of the mission of Peter? Whereas Christ solemnly commanded Peter to “confirm his brethren in the faith” and to feed His sheep, the successor of Peter is in fact going to confirm his brethren in indifferentism and relativism.


An Immense Scandal

For, beyond the terrible blasphemy, this personal decision of the pope will engender an immense scandal in the souls of both Catholics and non-Catholics. Before the image of a pope uniting the representatives of all the false religions, the reaction of the majority of men will be to relativize truth and religion still more. What individual, little acquainted with the Catholic religion, will not be tempted to be reassured about the fate of non-Catholics when he sees the pope inviting them to pray for freedom of conscience? What non-Christian will see in the Catholic religion the one true religion to the exclusion of all others when he learns that the head of the Catholic Church has convoked a pantheon of religions? How will he interpret the pope’s exhortation not to yield to relativism if not by thinking that it is a matter, not of holding to the truth, but of being sincere?

How could he not interpret in a relativist sense [14] the pope’s explicit invitation to practice one’s own religion as well as possible:

I shall go as a pilgrim to the town of St. Francis, inviting my Christian brethren of various denominations, the exponents of the world’s religious traditions to join this pilgrimage and ideally all men and women of good will… [in order] to solemnly renew the commitment of believers of every religion to live their own religious faith as a service to the cause of peace. [15]

In 1986, a journalist published this telling conclusion:

The Pope is inventing and presiding over a United Nations of Religions: those who believe in the Eternal, those who believe in a thousand gods, those who believe in no particular god. An amazing sight! John Paul II spectacularly admits the relativity of the Christian faith, which is now but one among the others. [16]

How can it be imagined that this judgment is not shared by many on the eve of October 27, 2011?

That is why it seems to us singularly strange to excuse the pope from such a sin on the grounds that Assisi 2011 is different from Assisi 1986. To the contrary, everything concurs to convince us of the surprising continuity between the Assisi meeting in 1986 and that of 2011:




The nature of the gathering: an invitation to the representatives of the false religions to get together to reflect and to pray for peace.

The motive: the civic peace promoted by the United Nations. In 1986, John Paul II invited all the religions “in this year 1986, designated by the U.N. as the Year of Peace, to promote a special gathering to pray for peace in the city of Assisi.“[17] During his message for peace of January 1, 2011, the date on which he announced the gathering at Assisi on October 27, 2011, Benedict XVI signed these revealing lines:

Without this fundamental experience [of the great religions] it becomes difficult to guide societies towards universal ethical principles and to establish at the national and international level a legal order which fully recognizes and respects fundamental rights and freedoms as these are set forth in the goals—sadly still disregarded or contradicted—of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights… All this is necessary and consistent with the respect for the dignity and worth of the human person enshrined by the world’s peoples in the 1945 Charter of the United Nations… [18]

As Bishop Fellay wrote to John Paul II on the occasion of the second scandal of Assisi in 1999:

The humanist, earthly and naturalist themes taken up at these meetings cause the Church to fall from its entirely divine, eternal and supernatural mission to the level of the Freemasonic ideals of world peace outside of the only Prince of Peace, Our Lord Jesus Christ.[19]

The date: Benedict XVI chose to undertake this initiative twenty-five years to the day after the Assisi fest:

The year 2011 marks the 25th anniversary of the World Day of Prayer for Peace convened in Assisi in 1986 by Pope John Paul II… The memory of that experience gives reason to hope for a future in which all believers will see themselves, and will actually be, agents of justice and peace. [20]

Is this not a clear sign of evident continuity? Is it not a way to make us relive the painful memory of the scandals of a Buddha on the tabernacle in St. Peter’s Church, the chickens sacrificed to the gods on St. Clare’s altar, the Vicar of Christ flanked by the Dalai Lama and an Orthodox Patriarch under the heel of the KGB? Is it necessary to commemorate the anniversary of an event if the goal is to distance oneself from it? Why proclaim Urbi et Orbi that “the memory of that experience gives reason to hope“? Only the betrayal of straight thinking can have given rise to such a flight from reality. [21]

The recollection of his predecessor, as if he wanted to dissipate any misunderstanding and to remind one and all of his fidelity to the spirit of the first Assisi meeting: “This year, 2011, is the 25th anniversary of the World Day of Prayer for Peace which Venerable John Paul II convoked in Assisi in 1986.“[22]

It is not only the stalwart defenders of the pope who use these same arguments to attempt to justify the unjustifiable. Formerly Assisi was defended by making a subtle distinction between “being together to pray” and “praying together.” Will they now be saying that there will be no common prayer, but rather a day of prayer in common? Instead of denying the concomitance of the silent prayers, shall we say that everybody prays separately according to his own religion? As if these specious distinctions were not manufactured for the needs of the cause. As if these subtleties were immediately grasped by the majority of men, who will retain only one thing: a gathering of all the religions for everyone to pray to the divinity, abstracting from any Revelation.

Finally, and like most of the gestures of the current pope compared to his predecessor’s, the scandal of Assisi 2011 will be substantially the same but less spectacular than Assisi 1986. That is why, to those who would accuse us once again of lacking in charity because of the vehemence of these lines, we remind them of Christ’s words: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and thy whole soul, and all thy strength, and thy neighbor as thyself.” Do we show an ardent love of Christ when we fail to decry blasphemy or criticize those who are shocked by it? Do we love our neighbor when we fail to warn him of the looming scandal? Is this the love Christ requires of us? No, as St. Pius X recalled at a dark hour:

But Catholic doctrine tells us that the primary duty of charity does not lie in the toleration of false ideas, however sincere they may be, nor in the theoretical or practical indifference towards the errors and vices in which we see our brethren plunged, but in the zeal for their intellectual and moral improvement as well as for their material well-being. Catholic doctrine further tells us that love for our neighbor flows from our love for God, Who is Father to all, and goal of the whole human family; and in Jesus Christ whose members we are, to the point that in doing good to others we are doing good to Jesus Christ Himself. Any other kind of love is sheer illusion, sterile and fleeting. [23]

So, then, what Church do we belong to? To the Church of St. Polycarp of Smyrna, who retorted to the heretic Marcion, who had asked him if he recognized him, “Yes, I recognize you as the devil’s elder son”?

—Do we belong to the Church of St. Martin, who broke the idols and felled the sacred trees of our countryside?

—Do we belong to the Church of St Bernard, who preached the crusade to our forefathers?

—Do we belong to the Church of St. Pius V, who not only prayed the Rosary, but summoned the Christian princes to make war against the Mohammedans?

—Do we belong to the Church of the saints and martyrs, or to the Church of the Pilates, the Cauchons, the Lamennaises, the Teilhard de Chardins, ever ready to toady to the world and to deliver Christ and His disciples to their detractors?

—Will we judge Assisi with the eyes of faith, of the popes and martyrs, or with the eyes of worldlings, liberals, and modernists?

That is why we cannot keep silent, and while the Pope prepares for one of the most serious acts of his pontificate, we vigorously and publicly proclaim our indignation, hoping and beseeching Heaven that this well-prepared calamity may not take place. Lastly, how can we fail to think of these words of Archbishop Lefebvre recalled by Bishop Fellay in 1999 in his letter to the pope:



Archbishop Lefebvre saw in this disastrous event of Assisi one of the “signs of the times” which permitted him to proceed legitimately with episcopal consecrations without Your consent and to write to You that “the time for an open collaboration has not yet come.“[24] The time has come, however, to make reparation for this scandal, to do penance while keeping in our heart the firm hope that despite the progress of the Mystery of Iniquity, “the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church.

September 12, 2011, Feast of the Holy Name of Mary, anniversary of the victory of the Catholic armies over the Turks at Vienna, September 12, 1683.

Published with the permission of Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X.



 1 The agenda for the day and the Holy See’s communique leave no doubt about the religious dimension of the event:

…On the day of the anniversary, October 27 this year, the Holy Father intends to hold a Day of reflection, dialogue and prayer for peace and justice in the world….There will follow a period of silence for individual reflection and prayer. In the afternoon, all who are present in Assisi will make their way towards the Basilica of St. Francis. It will be a pilgrimage in which, for the final stretch, the members of the delegations will also take part; it is intended to symbolize the journey of every human being who assiduously seeks the truth and actively builds justice and peace. It will take place in silence, leaving room for personal meditation and prayer…” (Vatican Press Office, Communique of April 2, 2011, “Pilgrims of truth, pilgrims of peace”: Day of reflection, dialogue and prayer for peace and justice in the world [Assisi, October 17, 2011]).

2 The purpose announced by the pope is “to solemnly renew the commitment of believers of every religion to live their own religious faith as a service to the cause of peace.” Benedict XVI, Angelus, St. Peter’s Square, January 1, 2011.

3 Deut. 6:13; Matt. 4:10.

4 John 14:16. Cf. also I Jn. 2:23: “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father.”

5 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words: going forth out of that house or city shake off the dust from your feet. Amen I say to you, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city” (Matt. 10:14-15).

6 Luke 12, 4-5.

7 …the World Day of Peace is a favorable opportunity to reflect together on the great challenges our epoch confronts humanity with. One such is religious freedom, dramatically urgent in our day. For this reason, this year I have chosen to dedicate my Message to the theme: ‘Religious freedom, the path to peace’… [I]n my Message for today’s World Day of Peace I have had the opportunity to emphasize that the great religions can constitute an important factor of unity and peace for the human family. In this regard, moreover, I recalled that this year, 2011, is the 25th anniversary of the World Day of Prayer for Peace which Venerable John Paul II convoked in Assisi in 1986. Therefore next October I shall go as a pilgrim to the town of St Francis, inviting my Christian brethren of various denominations, the exponents of the world’s religious traditions to join this Pilgrimage…” (Benedict XVI, Angelus, January 1, 2011)

8 From this poisoned source of indifferentism flows that false and absurd, or rather extravagant, maxim that liberty of conscience should be established and guaranteed to each man….” Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos, 1832.

9 Ps 95, 5.

10 If any man come to you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into the house nor say to him: God speed you. For he that saith unto him: God speed you, communicateth with his wicked works” (II John 10-11).

11 Cf. the Syllabus of Errors, 1864, condemned proposition No. 79:

For it is false that the civil liberty of every cult, and likewise, the full power granted to all of manifesting openly and publicly any kind of opinions and ideas, more easily leads to the corruption of the morals and minds of the people, and to the spread of the evil of indifferentism.”

12 On the occasion of the World’s Parliament of Religions held in Chicago in 1893.

13 For since they hold it for certain that men destitute of all religious sense are very rarely to be found, they seem to have founded on that belief a hope that the nations, although they differ among themselves in certain religious matters, will without much difficulty come to agree as brethren in professing certain doctrines, which form as it were a common basis of the spiritual life. For which reason conventions, meetings and addresses are frequently arranged by these persons, at which a large number of listeners are present, and at which all without distinction are invited to join in the discussion, both infidels of every kind, and Christians, even those who have unhappily fallen away from Christ or who with obstinacy and pertinacity deny His divine nature and mission. Certainly such attempts can nowise be approved by Catholics, founded as they are on that false opinion which considers all religions to be more or less good and praiseworthy, since they all in different ways manifest and signify that sense which is inborn in us all, and by which we are led to God and to the obedient acknowledgment of His rule. Not only are those who hold this opinion in error and deceived, but also in distorting the idea of true religion they reject it, and little by little. turn aside to naturalism and atheism, as it is called; from which it clearly follows that one who supports those who hold these theories and attempt to realize them, is altogether abandoning the divinely revealed religion.” (Pius XI, Mortalium Animos, January 6, 1928)

14 This can be done “without losing its own identity or assigned to forms of syncretism“, Press Release of the Holy See of April 2, 2011: A day of reflection, dialogue and prayer for peace and justice in the world—”pilgrims of the truth, pilgrims of peace” (Assisi, October 27, 2011).

15 Benedict XVI, Angelus, St. Peter’s Square, January 1, 2011.

16 Le Figaro magazine, October 31, 1986, p. 69.



17 L’Osservatore Romano, January 27-28, 1986.

18 Message of His Holiness Benedict XVI for the Celebration of the World Day of Peace, January 1, 2011, Nos. 7, 12.

19 Open Letter of Bishop Bernard Fellay to Pope John Paul II solemnly protesting the renewed scandal of Assisi at Rome on October 28, 1999.

20 Message of His Holiness Benedict XVI for the Celebration of the World Day of Peace, January 1, 2011, Nos. 11.

21 [Seule la trahison des bien-pensants peut permettre de se voiler ainsi la face.] Cf. Bernanos, Journal d’un cure de campagne (Plon, 1936), p. 245.

22 Benedict XVI, Angelus, St. Peter’s Square, January 1, 2011. See also the Vatican’s press release of April 2, 2011:

Pilgrims of truth, pilgrims of peace“: Day of reflection, dialogue and prayer for peace and justice in the world, Assisi, October 27, 2011: The image of pilgrimage therefore sums up the meaning of the event. There will be an opportunity to look back over the path already traveled from that first meeting in Assisi to the following one in January 2002, and also to look ahead to the future, with a view to continuing, in company with all men and women of good will, to walk along the path of dialogue and fraternity, in the context of a world in rapid transformation.”

Already in 2007, on the occasion of the interreligious reunion at Naples, Benedict XVI dispelled any thought of a desire to repent of the first convocation at Assisi:

Today’s meeting takes us back in spirit to 1986, when my venerable Predecessor John Paul II invited important Religious Representatives to the hills of St. Francis to pray for peace, stressing on that occasion the intrinsic ties that combine an authentic religious attitude with keen sensitivity to this fundamental good of humanity.…While respecting the differences of the various religions, we are all called to work for peace…” (Meeting with the Heads of the Delegations Participating in the International Encounter for Peace, October 21, 2007)

23 St. Pius X, Encyclical Our Apostolic Mandate to the French Episcopacy, August 25, 1910 [English tr. Yves Dupont (1974; Instauratio Press, 1990), §24].

24 Letter of Bishop Fellay to John Paul II to solemnly protest against the renewal of the scandal of Assisi at Rome on October 28, 1999.


Religious Indifferentism on Parade – First Dispatch from Assisi III

By John Vennari, Catholic Family News, October 27, 2011 (Traditionalist)
To say the latest pan-religious event of Assisi contains the promise that it will not foster religious indifferentism is a contradiction in terms. It is like inviting all of your friends to a swimming party with the promise that no one will get wet. 
The very nature of a swimming party guarantees that those who take part will get wet. And the very nature of a pan-religious event with representatives of the world, most of them pagan, is to foster religious indifferentism and religious relativism. 
Yet in the months leading up to the third major Assisi affair, we have been told repeatedly by Vatican officials that this latest manifestation of religious relativism will actually be an attack on religious relativism. That this manifestation of religious indifferentism will actually avoid religious indifferentism. Such a promise does not correspond to realty.
The only way to avoid religious indifferentism in a pan-religious event is to not hold the event. 

Oct. 27: The Morning Session
Assisi III takes place as I write. I am here in the town of Saint Francis to cover the latest world parliament of religions organized by the post-Conciliar Vatican. 
The present meeting in Assisi is a bit more restrained than that of the former gatherings under John Paul II. At Assisi 1986, various Catholic churches were given over to non-Catholic sects to perform their pagan ceremonies; a Buddhist placed on the altar and incensed, etc. The manifold aberrations from 1986 are now well known. Among the many things that Pope John Paul II publicly apologized for (mostly for alleged ‘sins’ of his distant predecessors), he never apologized for the desecration of Assisi churches fostered by his own event.
This year it is a bit different. For 2011, there are three major happenings: an event at the Vatican on of the evening of October 26. The entire delegation of religions then board a train for Assisi, and congregates at Saint Mary of the Angels Church, just outside of Assisi. After a series of speeches, members of each religion are to pray on their own in various places within the basilica. After a reportedly “frugal lunch”, the final event is to occur in late afternoon with the delegations of the world’s religions gathering at the great basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi.
The emphasis is supposedly not on joint prayer, but on truth and pilgrimage. This too is an attempt to deflect attention from the religious relativism endemic in such an event.
I arrived at St. Mary’s of the Angels this morning at about 9:30. Already a large crowd was gathered around the church, since only a select number could get in. Giant television screens were erected outside for people to see the ceremonies going on inside the church.
Around 10:00, delegates from the world religions, who had just arrived by train with Pope Benedict, filed into the church. Some came in through a side gate, others followed the Pope up the center path portioned off by barricades. The Pope himself arrived in some sort of pope mobile and greeted the delegates of each religion as they entered Saint Mary’s of the Angels. 




A colorful parade of religious dress was on display. According to the press kit, the various “non-Christian” religions represented here at Assisi are Islam; Judaism; Hinduism; Buddhism; Taoism; Sikhism; Baha’ism; Confucianism; Jainism; Zoroastrianism; Shintoism; Mandaeism; and “Traditional Religions” such as those found in Africa, America and India.

At Assisi this year, as has been the case in the past, Catholicism is not even mentioned as a distinct religion. The official press package simply states that “Christianity” is represented; and this “Christianity” is comprised of representatives of the World Council of Churches; Schismatic Orthodox prelates; Anglicans, various Protestants; and the Pope. 
The very manner in which “Christianity” is portrayed runs counter to the words of Pope Pius XI, who warned in his 1928 Encyclical Mortalium Animos that such pan-Christian activity “gives countenance to a false Christianity, quite alien to the one Church of Christ.” 
This “false Christianity” is on exhibit at Assisi, since the one true Church established by Christ is portrayed as simply one representative of “Christianity” along Protestants Anglicans and Schismatic Orthodox.
Then there is the problem of religious indifferentism.
Blessed Pius IX, in line with the popes that preceded and succeeded him, taught in his 1864 Syllabus of Errors that it is an error to believe “every man is free to embrace and profess that religions which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true.”
Sadly, Pope Benedict XVI appeared to foster this very indifferentism condemned by Pius IX and other popes, when on January 1, 2011, he formally invited members of various religions to Assisi “to solemnly renew the commitment of the faithful of religions to live their own religious faith as a service for the cause of peace.” [Emphasis added]
At this morning’s event at Saint Mary of the Angels, Vatican Cardinal Peter Turkson welcomed the assembly. Various others addressed the group with what were called “Testimonies of Peace” Speakers included Armenian Metropolitan Zakarian; Dr. Olav Fyske, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches; Rabbi David Rosen, International Director of Interreligious Affairs of the American Jewish Committee; Rowan Williams, leader of the Anglican Collective; representatives from other systems such as Islam, Native African (Yoruba); Hindu, Buddhism; and even a professed “non-believer”. 
The details of their talks are not the focus here and may be spotlighted at a later date. Mostly, they spoke of the need for peace; the call for commitment to an undefined “justice”; and of course, lots of celebratory praise for John Paul II who gave us the first Assisi in 1986. A speech by Pope Benedict closed the session.
So far, the music was dignified: either choral or classical. Though on the way back to the Franciscan basilica, I saw the rehearsal of a pop ensemble singing about peace, love and togetherness. I guess that’s what’s in store this evening.

The “Lethal System of Religious Indifferentism”
A good pastor told me years ago that the priest has the duty to not only avoid scandal, but to avoid even the appearance of scandal.
This necessarily applies to Assisi. The error of religious indifferentism – the belief that any religion is good enough for salvation – which is the central error of our age, is of such magnitude that nothing should be done to foster it in any way whatsoever.
The Popes throughout the centuries, and especially since the time of the French Revolution, condemned any activity that places the Catholic Church on equal footing with false religions. 
Religious indifferentism is one of the many reasons for the Papal condemnations of Freemasonry, since Masonry places all religions on the same plain. Pope Leo XII taught in his inaugural Encyclical, Ubi Primum:
“A certain sect, certainly known to you, [Freemasonry] and wrongfully arrogating the name of philosophy for itself has stirred up from the ashes the disorganized collections of almost all the errors. … it teaches that ample liberty has been granted by God to every man to join any sect or to adopt any opinion which may be pleasing to him according to his own private judgment, without any danger to his salvation … it would be really impossible for the completely truthful God, who is Sovereign Truth itself, the best and most wise Provider, and Rewarder of the good, to approve of all sects that are teaching dogmas that are false and frequently opposed and contradictory to one another and to bestow eternal rewards upon the men who join these sects …”
Pope Pius VIII forcefully condemned this error in the encyclical Traditi humilati nostrae:
“And this is the lethal system of religious indifferentism, which is repudiated by the light of natural reason itself. In this light we are warned that, among many religions which disagree with one another, when one is true, that there can be no association with light and darkness. Against these repeaters of ancient errors, the people must be assured, Venerable Brethren, that the profession of the Catholic Faith is alone the true one, since the Apostle tells us that there is one Lord and one baptism. As Jerome says, the man who eats the Lamb outside of this house is profane, and the man who is not in the ark of Noah is going to perish in the deluge. Neither is there any other name apart from the Name of Jesus given to men by which we must be saved. He who believes will be saved, and he who shall not have believed will be condemned.”   
Yet due to the new pan-religious orientation from Vatican II, and now on display at Assisi III, Catholics never hear these crucial magisterial statements. As the eminent theologian Father Edward Hanahoe warned in 1962, the ecumenical approach blankets with “significance silence” any Catholic teaching that stands in the way of the new pan-religious orientation.
It is now to the point where pan-religious activity is regarded as a truly Catholic enterprise. The Catholic taxi driver who drove me from the train station into Assisi was overjoyed that the meeting was about to take place in his town. A Catholic woman said to me on Wednesday, “Tomorrow the Pope is coming here to Assisi with all the other religions. Beautiful!”



The end result is that most modern Catholics recoil in horror when any one of us reiterates the true papal doctrine against religions indifferentism. Thanks to the new orientation, the Catholic language of the centuries is now a foreign tongue to the average Catholic. 
The latest Assisi gathering only perpetuates this disorientation. The press, television and Internet media are now broadcasting the images of this event throughout the world.
And as anyone in media knows, it is the image that sells. It is the image that tells the story. It is the image that has the impact. It is the image that sends the message.
And the image broadcast the world over is that of the Christ’s one true Catholic Church placed on the same level as false creeds. No matter what verbal caveats may show up in one or two of the speeches, it is religious indifferentism on parade.
If the duty of the priest is to avoid not only scandal, but also the appearance of scandal, then Catholics have a right to insist that our highest Church leaders must avoid the appearance of scandal and religious indifferentism that the Assisi gatherings televise throughout the globe. 
As noted earlier, the only way to avoid religious indifferentism in a pan-religious event is to not hold the event.
I hope to post more news from Assisi later today, along with what other Popes solemnly taught against the “lethal system of religious indifferentism”; and how this indifferentism does not bring upon the blessings of God, but punishment.*
Meanwhile Our Lady of Fatima’s true peace plan is ignored. It is eclipsed by the Assisi counterfeit. This too will be discussed at a later date.

Second Dispatch from Assisi III
Video – Assisi: The Hippies’ Dream Come True

October 27, 2011 (Traditionalist)

I put together this video to demonstrate my conviction that the pan-religious “Spirit of Assisi” has much more in common with the humanistic peace, justice and love movement of the 1960s than it does with the Catholic doctrine of the ages on the Social Kingship of Christ, especially as expounded by Pope Leo XIII in Immortale Dei; Pope St. Pius X in “Our Apostolic Mandate”; and Pope Pius XI in Quas Primas. –John Vennari

Assisi III: Too Much and Not Enough

By Jason Pitzl-Waters, October 28, 2011

Large interfaith gatherings can often be fraught with long-simmering tensions, just ask the folks who put on the Parliament for the World’s Religions, but it is generally thought that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. That getting leaders and clergy of the major religions in the same room to find common ground and common understanding will bring dividends of lasting peace (or at least bring about greater tolerance). Yesterday, in Assisi, Italy the Catholic Church sponsored a massive interfaith gathering, the third such gathering to directly involve a sitting Pope (hence, “Assisi III” in Catholic circles), and the 25th anniversary of the first such meeting. In his address to the gathering, Pope Benedict XVI acknowledged that Christianity has used violence to achieve its ends, and that this is against the spirit of his faith.


“As a Christian I want to say at this point: yes, it is true, in the course of history, force has also been used in the name of the Christian faith. We acknowledge it with great shame. But it is utterly clear that this was an abuse of the Christian faith, one that evidently contradicts its true nature. The God in whom we Christians believe is the Creator and Father of all, and from him all people are brothers and sisters and form one single family. For us the Cross of Christ is the sign of the God who put “suffering-with” (compassion) and “loving-with” in place of force. His name is “God of love and peace” (2 Corinthians 13:11). It is the task of all who bear responsibility for the Christian faith to purify the religion of Christians again and again from its very heart, so that it truly serves as an instrument of God’s peace in the world, despite the fallibility of humans.”

Benedict has long been categorized as skeptical of interfaith efforts such as these, and famously criticized the first Assisi gathering, saying that it could lead to the impression that all faiths are valid. As a consequence, great pains were taken to avoid the impression of unified prayer at this event, and to assert that profound theological differences exist between the world’s faiths.

“In the 1960’s a theologian wrote (and I paraphrase as I can’t seem to find my copy of the work this morning), “Polytheism was half-right. It understood that God was immanent in the world. But, it missed the fact that God also transcends the world.” The theologian? Joseph Ratzinger of course. If one of the reasons to gather religious leaders of different faiths together was to focus on the first half, the part polytheists got right, that is well and good. But, for Benedict, we cannot neglect the other half, nor the fact that we Catholic Christians do not pray to the same God as our polytheist brothers.”

However, these measures weren’t enough for some Catholic traditionalists, who felt the very gathering together  of religious leaders with the Pope was a blasphemy too far.

“…the very nature of a pan-religious event with representatives of the world, most of them pagan, is to foster religious indifferentism and religious relativism.  Yet in the months leading up to the third major Assisi affair, we have been told repeatedly by Vatican officials that this latest manifestation of religious relativism will actually be an attack on religious relativism. That this manifestation of religious indifferentism will actually avoid religious indifferentism. Such a promise does not correspond to realty. The only way to avoid religious indifferentism in a pan-religious event is to not hold the event.”



Also unhappy with the event were agnostics and atheists, who, while invited to the event, were also singled out for criticism in the Pope’s address to the gathering.

The Vatican made a big publicity push out of Pope Benedict XVI’s personal initiative to invite atheists to this week’s interfaith dialogue at Assisi, Italy. It was supposed to be a day of reflection and dialogue, but Benedict XVI, with four atheists in attendance at his invitation, turned the meeting into yet another attack against atheists. “God’s absence”, the Pope argued, would lead to violence and even concentration camps, because denial of the Divine “corrupts men, deprives them of restraint, making them lose their humanity”. By contrast, said the Pope, use of violence in the name of religion would only be “an abuse of the Christian faith.” “Again and again the Pope reveals himself as an ‘atheophobe'” says Raffaele Carcano, head of the Italian Union of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics (UAAR), an International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) member organization. “His attacks against atheists, and his pretension to acquire agnostics, are a clear attempt to demonize the unbelief that’s increasingly spreading throughout the world, as acknowledged by the clearly worried Pope himself.”

It seems pretty clear from his statement that Benedict invited the four agnostics “so that God, the true God, becomes accessible” to them. Perhaps I am wrong about this, but it seems like one step forward, two steps back, in regards to outreach with agnostics and atheists.

From a personal perspective, I applaud the spirit of Assisi, interfaith gatherings that have been taking place every year since 1986 and made this anniversary celebration possible. I also think that the current Pope will always be caught between too much and not enough. Any move towards reconciliation and understanding with non-Christians will be seen as a betrayal by traditionalists and hardliners, while his outreach toward bringing extremist groups like the Society of St Pius X back into full communion, and his track record of hostility towards indigenous and non-monotheistic faiths will ensure outreach half-measures bring as much criticism as praise. He is fundamentally limited by his very role and purpose, unable as an individual to bring healing while existing as the living embodiment of his faith. Any step too far in one direction would rupture the Catholic world, destroying a balance that has allowed it to become one of the world’s largest faiths.

So, what, if one believes in the power of interfaith work, can be done? I honestly believe that interfaith can’t be a top-down affair, at least not in today’s world. The heads of the dominant monotheisms are all immobilized by the same problems that haunt Benedict, while the non-monotheistic world faiths, being largely decentralized, have no single leader that guides them all. I think the best leaders and clergy can do is to simply allow interfaith work to happen, through projects like the Parliament for the World’s Religions, or the United Religions Initiative, so that the ground can shift under them. The absence of persecution for interfaith involvement may not seem like much, but is a core building block for future change. In 25 years a Cardinal hostile to interfaith became a Pope willing to meet and talk with the world’s faiths (albeit with restrictions), what will the next 25 years bring? If we allow the interfaith movement to grow, I’m hopeful we can see massive advances in my lifetime.

I also think that Pagan intrafaith (and intramovement) work needs to become a far more serious consideration. As a diverse movement of unique and individual faiths we have allowed too much to be taken for granted, and made far too many assumptions, threatening to create permanent divisions between natural allies. We need to stop building councils and start building Pagan gatherings that engage in the hard work of actually listening to one another. The days when any small handful of individuals could speak for our now-global movement are over. I think we are ready to emerge as a much-needed perspective in world events, but it can only happen if we respect our own nature and reality.


Vatican Diary / The “spirit of Assisi” that the pope doesn’t trust

Vatican City, October 31, 2011

The formula has great success in the media and is the mantra of the Franciscans and of the Community of Sant’Egidio. While the Vatican authorities no longer repeat it. And Benedict XVI even less so.

Aldo Maria Valli, a vaticanista for Italian state television, has written in the newspaper “Europa”: with the first encounter of Assisi in 1986, “the ‘spirit of Assisi’ was born, which then became a formula: wonderful for some, devastating for others.”

On the occasion of the “pilgrimage” with which Benedict XVI wanted to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of that event, the formula “spirit of Assisi” has been repeatedly and emphatically evoked on the media circuit.

Many have done so. For example: the prior of the monastery of Bose, Enzo Bianchi, in “La Stampa”; the president of the Community of Sant’Egidio, Marco Impagliazzo in an editorial on the front page of the newspaper of the Italian bishops, “Avvenire”; the founder of the same community, Andrea Riccardi, in “Corriere della Sera” and in “Famiglia Cristiana,” the most widely circulated Catholic weekly in Italy; the undersecretary of the pontifical council for social communications, Angelo Scelzo, in “Il Mattino”; Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, the main organizer of the encounter in 1986, endorsing a volume produced by Sant’Egidio entitled “Lo spirito di Assisi”; the Franciscan friars and the bishop of Assisi; the French Catholic daily “La Croix”; the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, during the event itself…

The euphoria in the media over the “spirit of Assisi” has even infected the reports of “L’Osservatore Romano” and Vatican Radio. But not the editorials of the directors of these two media outlets of the Holy See, Giovanni Maria Vian and Fr. Federico Lombardi.

Has their silence been a coincidence, or the result of a specific intention?

In preparing for the twenty-fifth anniversary of Assisi, last July “L’Osservatore Romano” published a series of articles that had the objective of explaining the event properly, which were then collected in a book.




The articles were signed by all of the heads of the Vatican offices involved in organizing the event: cardinals Tarcisio Bertone, Jean-Louis Tauran, William J. Levada, Kurt Koch, Peter K. A. Turkson, and Gianfranco Ravasi.

And yet, none of their writings use the formula “spirit of Assisi” even once. It does, however, appear in three of the other four articles of the series published by “L’Osservatore Romano,” entrusted to persons outside of the curia.

The formula appears, that is, in the article by the bishop of Assisi, Domenico Sorrentino, in the one by Riccardi, and in the one by the president of the Focolare movement, Maria Voce. But not in the one by the leader of Communion and Liberation, Fr. Julián Carrón.

And Benedict XVI? As cardinal, he was one of the few cardinals in the curia never to have participated in the annual, highly attended interreligious meetings of Sant’Egidio named after the “spirit of Assisi,” and he has used the formula no more than a couple of times.

One of these two citations of pope Joseph Ratzinger – the second – was included in the commemorative film that was shown to the participants in the pilgrimage to Assisi and to the pope himself last October 27, during the event.

The film was produced by Italian state television and overseen by the vaticanista Fr. Filippo Di Giacomo and by Giuseppe Corigliano, a former spokesman for Opus Dei. It seems that the Holy See had no say in how it was put together.

But it must be noted that the first and most important time Benedict XVI used the formula “spirit of Assisi,” in September of 2006, it was precisely to explain how to understand it correctly, so that “it should not lend itself to syncretist interpretations founded on a relativistic concept.”

In any case, after Benedict XVI announced that he intended to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of Assisi, he never evoked even once the “spirit.”

He did not do so at the Angelus on January 1, 2011, when he made the surprising announcement of his intention.

He did not do so in any of his later statements and greetings about Assisi and in Assisi.

Nor did he do so at the Angelus on the Sunday after the pilgrimage on October 27.

In short, returning to Valli’s categories, for Benedict XVI the formula “spirit of Assisi” may perhaps not be “devastating,” as the Lefebvrists think. But it seems so full of ambiguity to him – as does “spirit of the Council” – that he will do everything he can to avoid it.


Assisi 1986 – 2011: reform in continuity (Dialogue Centre International)

November 4, 2011

On October 26, 2011, the day before the interfaith meeting in Assisi, Cardinal Roger Etchegaray in L’Osservatore Romano went back to the October 27, 1986 meeting convened by John Paul II: “Assisi made an extraordinary leap in the dialogue among religions, still in its infancy and unceasingly deepening.”

For the French cardinal who was the longtime president of the Pontifical Councils “Justice and Peace” and “Cor Unum,” there exists a continuity and not a rupture between the meeting organized by John Paul II and that planned 25 years later by Benedict XVI. The prelate insisted in affirming that John Paul II had done “everything possible to avoid the appearance of any syncretism” at the 1986 meeting, going so far as to say that “there was no trace of communal prayer” in Assisi, but that “each religion was able to hear the murmur of its own relationship with God.”

On October 27, 2011, there was no “common prayer” or “murmur,” but one could hear the public prayer of an animist and the profession of the pantheist creed of a Hindu in the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, to the applause of 300 representatives of the world’s religions.


Prayer to Olokun

Indeed, during the morning of this “Day of reflection, dialogue and prayer for peace and justice in the world” happening under the theme “Pilgrims of truth, pilgrims of peace,” the representative of African religions and beliefs Wande Abimbola stated that “indigenous religions claim the same respect and consideration as other religions,” urging participants to “always recognize that our own religion—like other religions—is valid and precious in the eyes of the Almighty, who created all of us with such diversity and plurality of ways of life and belief systems.”

Twice during this session presided over by Benedict XVI, Wande Abimbola sang a Yoruba prayer of worship while accompanying himself on a small percussion instrument. The second time he invited those present to “make (theirs) these verses to Olokun” and “to receive them into the depths of the oceans” – Olokun is the Nigerian god of the sea. Read the notes in the study done by RP Noël Baudin on the Foreign Missions of Lyons (1844-1887) on the practice of animist cults at the time of evangelization. [1]

Then intervened Shri Acharya Shrivatsa Goswami, the representative of Hinduism, who also sang a prayer: “infinite god who took shape in humanity I see you in each hand and each foot, in each eye and each head, in each name and each person, and I will revere you in each one.” After this pantheistic statement, he indicated that there is “a Hindu prayer for peace,” but that “there is no way to peace, because peace itself is a way.” Referring to the prayer of a Hindu spiritual master of the sixteenth century, he told the audience: “I bow and revere god in each one of you,” recalling that in the Veda, “the truth is one,” but “announced in different ways.” [2] This profession of Hindu faith was as warmly applauded by the audience as the previous one.

Then the spokesman for non-believers, Julia Kristeva, declared that she spoke in the name of “humanism” and affirmed that: “The diversity of our meeting here in Assisi, shows that this hypothesis of destruction is not the only possible one,” before proposing this “wager,” not on the existence of God as did Pascal, but on man:




“The age of suspicion is no longer enough, Faced with increasingly grave crisis and threats, the time has come to gamble. We must dare to bet on the continuous renewal of the capacity of men and women to listen and learn together. So that, in the ‘multiverse” surrounded by a void, mankind can continue to pursue his creative destiny for a long time to come.” The Bulgarian born French psychoanalyst then stated the need to do something new with the heritage of the different traditions: “Memory does not regard the past: the Bible, the Gospels, the Koran, the Rig Veda, the Tao, live in the present. In order that humanism might develop and re-found itself, the moment has come to take up again the moral codes built throughout history: without weakening them, in order to problematize them, to renew them in the face of new singularities.” [3] This humanist syncretism also received the approval of those present, before the intervention of Benedict XVI.


“Continually Purify the Christian Religion”

The Pope then offered a form of repentance for Christians on the misuse of their faith in the past, “Yes, in history, we also resorted to violence in the name of the Christian faith. We shamefully admit to it.” And asked for a “continual purification” of the Christian religion.

“The post-Enlightenment critique of religion,” said Benedict XVI, “has repeatedly maintained that religion is a cause of violence and in this way it has fuelled hostility towards religions. The fact that, in the case we are considering here, religion really does motivate violence should be profoundly disturbing to us as religious persons. In a way that is more subtle but no less cruel, we also see religion as the cause of violence when force is used by the defenders of one religion against others. The religious delegates who were assembled in Assisi in 1986 wanted to say, and we now repeat it emphatically and firmly: this is not the true nature of religion. It is the antithesis of religion and contributes to its destruction.”

“In response, an objection is raised: how do you know what the true nature of religion is? Does your assertion not derive from the fact that your religion has become a spent force? Others in their turn will object: is there such a thing as a common nature of religion that finds expression in all religions and is therefore applicable to them all? We must ask ourselves these questions, if we wish to argue realistically and credibly against religiously motivated violence. Herein lies a fundamental task for interreligious dialogue—an exercise which is to receive renewed emphasis through this meeting.”

“As a Christian I want to say at this point: yes, it is true, in the course of history, force has also been used in the name of the Christian faith. We acknowledge it with great shame. But it is utterly clear that this was an abuse of the Christian faith, one that evidently contradicts its true nature. . . . For us the Cross of Christ is the sign of the God who put ‘suffering-with’ (compassion) and ‘loving-with’ in place of force. His name is ‘God of love and peace’ (2 Cor 13:11). It is the task of all who bear responsibility for the Christian faith to purify the religion of Christians again and again from its very heart, so that it truly serves as an instrument of God’s peace in the world, despite the fallibility of humans.”


Non-believers Invite Believers “to Purify Their Faith”

The Pope justified his personally-initiated-invitation to representatives of non-believers, indicating that agnostics can bring much to both militant atheists and believers—the latter being, according to him, encouraged by non-believers precisely to “purify their faith.”

“In addition to the two phenomena of religion and anti-religion, a further basic orientation is found in the growing world of agnosticism: people to whom the gift of faith has not been given, but who are nevertheless on the lookout for truth, searching for God. Such people do not simply assert: ‘There is no God.’ They suffer from his absence and yet are inwardly making their way towards him, inasmuch as they seek truth and goodness. They are ‘pilgrims of truth, pilgrims of peace.’ They ask questions of both sides.”

“They take away from militant atheists the false certainty by which these claim to know that there is no God and they invite them to leave polemics aside and to become seekers who do not give up hope in the existence of truth and in the possibility and necessity of living by it.”

“But they also challenge the followers of religions not to consider God as their own property, as if he belonged to them, in such a way that they feel vindicated in using force against others. These people are seeking the truth, they are seeking the true God, whose image is frequently concealed in the religions because of the ways in which they are often practiced. Their inability to find God is partly the responsibility of believers with a limited or even falsified image of God. So all their struggling and questioning is in part an appeal to believers to purify their faith, so that God, the true God, becomes accessible. Therefore I have consciously invited delegates of this third group to our meeting in Assisi, which does not simply bring together representatives of religious institutions.”

The intervention of Julia Kristeva, before that of Benedict XVI, brought to him an anticipated response: “the Bible, the Gospels, the Koran, the Rig Veda, the Tao, live in the present.  In order that humanism might develop and re-found itself, the moment has come to take up again the moral codes built throughout history.” The French psychoanalyst affirmed that her humanism emerges strengthened and restructured thanks to the syncretistic recovery of diverse religious traditions. Nothing, however, on any ‘inner struggle,’ nor a ‘question’ in search of the ‘true God.’ So it appeared that the presentations of Julia Kristeva and Benedict XVI followed each other chronologically, but at their core remained juxtaposed, compartmentalized. So one wonders on what common doctrinal basis has a commitment to peace been made by all these participants who in the afternoon expressed their agreement on words that, for each of them, have a different meaning.






The Renewal of the “Commitment to Peace” Made in 1986

A frugal meal in the Franciscan convent brought together the various representatives of the religions. It was followed by a moment of silence dedicated to prayer, reflection and rest; each representative being assigned a cell in the monastery to avoid any common prayer, as was made clear.

Early in the afternoon, songs and dances were performed by an international group, inspiring peace, joy . . . and symbolically tying together colorful fabrics. Irenical choreography that would have been suitable for UNESCO or the opening of the Olympics.

Then each speaker read a text in his language demonstrating his commitment to peace in the name of his religious community. Mounib Younan, president of the Lutheran World Federation, condemned all violence in the name of religion. Mar Gregorios, Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, wished for mutual forgiveness of errors and prejudices of the past and present. Regarding the past, he wanted to teach that peace without justice is not a true peace.

Then Wai-Hop Tong, the Taoist representative, pledged to be on the side of those who suffer in poverty and neglect. And Tsunekiyo Tanaka, the Shinto representative, said he wanted to encourage all initiatives to promote friendship among peoples, in opposition to that which would expose the world to a growing risk of destruction and death. Guillermo Hurtado, the Mexican atheist, echoed the humanists in dialogue with believers, committed to building a new world where everyone can enjoy the freedom to act according to his convictions.

Then Cardinal Kurt Koch, the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, asked the religious representatives to make a gesture to seal their commitment to peace “proclaimed by many voices.” Benedict XVI gave an example by turning to welcome his two neighbors, while doves were released by the Franciscans.

Before the choir of the diocese of Assisi began to sing the Canticle of Creatures of St. Francis, Benedict XVI addressed a speech to the assembly to close the meeting: “We are not being separated; we will continue to meet, we will continue to be united in this journey, in dialogue, in the daily building of peace and in our commitment to a better world.” Afterwards, the Pope engaged in private prayer before the tomb of St. Francis, beside Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Mounib Younan, the Lutheran, and accompanied by a large group of the representatives of the various delegations, who observed the crypt but did not pray there.

In a message sent to 300 participants in the interfaith meeting, Barack Obama, the President of the United States, wanted to give his support to this new meeting of Assisi. “Through interfaith dialogue, we can unite in common cause to lift the afflicted, make peace where there is strife, and find the way forward to create a better world for ourselves and our children,” he said in a note published by the United States Embassy to the Holy See. This message was relayed by Suzan Johnson Cook, U.S. Ambassador for Religious Freedom, present at Assisi.

In an audience at the Vatican on October 28, the day after the meeting, Benedict XVI praised his predecessor in front of the delegations who had participated in the meeting. He then stated: “Looking back, we can appreciate the foresight of the late Pope John Paul II in convening the first Assisi meeting.”  In 1986, this interfaith meeting expressed  “the continuing need for men and women of different religions to testify together that the journey of the spirit is always a journey of peace.” This is why, according to the Pope, Assisi could become “the common home of those who are convinced that faith is synonymous with peace and values​​, and not with hatred and prejudice . . . Through this unique pilgrimage we have been able to engage in fraternal dialogue, to deepen our friendship, and to come together in silence and prayer.” He concluded: “We are not being separated; we will continue to meet, we will continue to be united in this journey, in dialogue, in the daily building of peace and in our commitment to a better world, a world in which every man and woman and every people can live in accordance with their own legitimate aspirations.”


Assisi in Light of Mortalium animos

On October 26, the eve of the meeting in Assisi, in a “Liturgy of the Word” in the Paul VI Hall of the Vatican, the Pope recalled that the sword which has traditionally represented the apostle Paul signifies not only the instrument of his martyrdom by beheading, but also “the power of truth, which can often wound, can hurt: the Apostle remained faithful to this truth to the end; he served it; he suffered for it; he gave over his life for it.” And Benedict XVI added: “It is not the sword of the conqueror that builds peace, but the sword of the sufferer, of he who knows how to give his very life.” Without a doubt Jesus reminded Peter during his Passion: “Put up again thy sword into its place: for all that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” (Matthew 26:52). But St. Paul served and also used the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17), “for the word of God is living and effectual, and more piercing than any two edged sword; and reaching unto the division of the soul and the spirit, of the joints also and the marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

In Assisi, all remained in a confused irenicism, an irenicism which depended on the doctrinal confusion that at no time does the sword of the Spirit come to disentangle. Publicly the Word of God was placed on the same level as that of Olokun; the Word of God was placed at the level of the Vedas; the Divine Wisdom was placed on an equal footing with the humanist syncretism.

Once again the relevance and timeliness of the teaching of Pius XI in Mortalium animos (1928) can be verified: “For since they hold it for certain that men destitute of all religious sense are very rarely to be found, they seem to have founded on that belief a hope that the nations, although they differ among themselves in certain religious matters, will without much difficulty come to agree as brethren in professing certain doctrines, which form as it were a common basis of the spiritual life.




For which reason conventions, meetings and addresses are frequently arranged by these persons, at which a large number of listeners are present, and at which all without distinction are invited to join in the discussion, both infidels of every kind, and Christians, even those who have unhappily fallen away from Christ or who with obstinacy and pertinacity deny His divine nature and mission. Certainly such attempts can no wise be approved by Catholics, founded as they are on that false opinion which considers all religions to be more or less good and praiseworthy, since they all in different ways manifest and signify that sense which is inborn in us all, and by which we are led to God and to the obedient acknowledgment of His rule.”

Three years before the issuance of the encyclical, Pius XI instituted the feast of Christ the King thereby making clear the Catholic response to all initiatives towards peace between nations. The Collect of the Mass of this feast expresses it with clarity:  “Almighty everlasting God, Who in Thy beloved Son, King of the whole world, hast willed to restore all things anew; grant in Thy mercy that all the families of nations, rent asunder by the wound of sin, may be subjected to His most gentle rule.”

(Sources: VIS/Apic/Imedia/Zenit/KTO/ – DICI du 03/11/11)


[1] Excerpt from the works of RP Noël Baudin, Fetichism and Fetich Worshipers (Fétichisme et féticheurs), New York, 1885, pp. 18: “Olokun, the god of the sea and of the ocean, the negro Neptune, dwells in an immense palace under the sea. Seven enormous chains now hold him captive. In a moment of anger he attempted to destroy mankind because of their propensity to lie.  He had almost exterminated them when Obatala (Editor’s note: one of the first deities, with Odudua and Ifa, the Yoruba pantheon) interfered and forced him back to the sea, where he remains chained in his palace forever. From time to time his efforts to break his chains create the storms on the ocean. Animals are sacrificed to him, and sometime human beings.”

“His wife is Olos (the lagoon), who also has her palace under the waters. The crocodile is sacred to her, and is supposed to be her messenger. Sacrifice is offered to Olos in small temples on the lagoon; sometimes they also immolate to her human victims to make her favorable to the fisheries.”

“But sacrifices are more frequently offered to her messenger the crocodile, who is supposed to carry to his mistress the offerings of the faithful. To this end the fetich-priests hold up for the adoration of the people the monster who is invested with this charge by the goddess. When the crocodile having the necessary marks is seen, a little cabin is made for him, or rather a few pickets with some palm-branches designate the place chosen for his dwelling, and every five days the fetich priests and priestesses bring him food.”

[2] The Veda is “revealed knowledge” transmitted orally from Brahmin to Brahmin within Vedism, Brahmanism, and Hinduism. The ‘sacred science’—the Veda—is understood as a unique and eternal consciousness, which over time, successively integrates its multiple manifestations. The evolution towards contemporary Hinduism leads to the integration of the Upanishads to the Veda, which can finally be described as the Multiple-Veda without this term signifying that the eternal Veda has lost its fundamental unity. It is a form of unity in multiplicity that Hindu evolution assumes, ignoring the principle of non-contradiction.

[3] VATICAN – ASSISI 2011. Julia Kristeva: The humanism of the Enlightenment must dialogue with Christian humanism.


Commentary: Reflections on the presence of atheists in Assisi (Dialogue Centre International)

November 11, 2011

In the October 31, 2011 issue of Correspondance européenne (European Correspondence) (No. 242), the Italian historian Roberto de Mattei, who, on January 11, 2011, had signed a petition asking Benedict XVI to “flee from the spirit of Assisi” (see No. 228 DICI 1/22/11), expressed his anxiety about the presence of atheists at the interreligious meeting in Assisi on October 27th:

“There is, of course, the possibility that the non-believers are on a search for or a ‘pilgrimage’ to Truth.  This is what can happen when respect for the Second Commandment (love of neighbor) grows progressively and seeks its foundation in the First Commandment (love of God). This is the position of the so-called “devout atheists” such as Marcello Pera and Giuliano Ferrara, who—as was rightly pointed out by Francesco Agnoli in his article: Io cattolico pacelliano, dico al card. Ravasi che ha ad Assisi sbagliato atei (I, a Pacellian Catholic, say to Cardinal Ravasi that at Assisi he was wrong about the atheists) in Il Foglio, 29 October 2011)—”have had their way with believers, and the way they continue to do so is by making their arguments work.”  In regards to certain precepts of the Decalogue, these last today show themselves to be more confident and observant than many Catholics.  But the atheists summoned to Assisi are anything but ‘devout’: they belong to that category of non-believers who despise not only the first three commandments, but the entire Decalogue.

“It is a position the philosopher and psychoanalyst Julia Kristeva has taken up again in the daily paper Corriere della Sera of October 28, 2011—which published in extenso her remarks at Assisi, in an article titled Unnuovo umanesimo dieci principi (Ten Principles of a New Humanism). 






In contrast to other lay specialists, Kristeva asserted a line of thought which, starts from the Renaissance and ends up at the Enlightenment of Diderot, Voltaire and Rousseau, including the Marquis de Sade, Nietzsche and Sigmund Freud, that is to say this itinerary, as demonstrated by leading atheist experts—Father Cornelio Fabro (Introduzione all’ateismo moderno, Studium, Rome 1969), and the philosopher Augusto Del Noce (It dell’ateismo problema, Il Mulino, Bologna 2010)—carries precisely the nihilism that the French psychoanalyst, without denying her own atheistic vision and permissive society, would like to counter in the name of a collaborative “complicity” between Christian humanism and secular humanism.  The outcome of this peaceful coexistence between the atheist principle of immanence and a vague reminder of the Christian religiosity can only be pantheism, dear to all the modernists, past and present.

“The point upon which Assisi III risks standing is a dangerous furtherance of the confusion that currently grips the Church, that which all the media has largely emphasized, namely, the extension of the invitation to Assisi to atheists and agnostics selected among the most distant from Christian metaphysics, in addition to those addressed to representatives of different religions around the world.  We wonder what dialogue can be possible with these ‘unbelievers’ who contradict the source of natural law.

“The distinction between atheist ‘combatants’ and atheist ‘partners” risks ignoring the aggressive power contained in implicit atheism, which is not conveyed in a militant way, but which is actually more dangerous.  Atheists of the UAAR (Union of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics) at least have something to teach Catholics: in defense of their truths they profess their errors with a militant spirit from which Catholics have totally abdicated. (…) “(Source: Correspondance européene- DICI No. 244 of 11/11/11)


What Assisi has lost

By Austin Ivereigh, November 14, 2011 (Liberal)

A report from the meeting of religious leaders

Of all the challenges faced by the Vatican in organizing the 25th anniversary of the historic interreligious gathering in Assisi in 1986, the hardest was how to make it newsworthy. The 176 delegates—representing, said the Vatican, “not only the world’s religions, but all people of good will, everyone seeking the truth”—whom Pope Benedict XVI led by train from Rome to the town of St Francis were comprehensive in their diversity. But if the Christian delegations on October 27 included the top men—Pope Benedict himself, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew I—the delegates from Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and others included no obvious celebrities, or even organizations whose presence might have raised an eyebrow. Even the inclusion of four non-believers failed to create a stir, for it was not Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens standing with the pope but little-known academic philosophers.

In purely news terms, of course, 2011 couldn’t compare with the pure gold of the original 1986 gathering. The sight of Christian leaders standing in a semi-circle in the basilica dedicated to St Francis together with the Dalai Lama and a rainbow of sashes, robes and elaborate headgear was unprecedented. The 160 leaders of the great world religions called by Pope John Paul I did not “pray together,” exactly, but “came together in public to pray at the same time.” That distinction was lost on most observers, who still remember the ritual fires, the drums and the feathers, and the invocations of spirits. The scenes confirmed the fears of the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who famously boycotted the gathering. 

But that first Assisi gathering caught the imagination of the world. Alarmed at the deep freeze in superpower relations, Pope John Paul II had summoned—as no one but a pope could—the spiritual energy of the world’s faiths, and put in train a movement among religions at the service of peace in the world. The theology was simple: the Catholic Church, whose task is to communicate the Gospel, seeks to further the global common good, and encourage the message of peace which is at the heart of every faith. And where better than in the town of il poverello, who had tamed the ferocious wolf of Gubbio, leap-frogged the walls of war and spoken to the Sultan?

If the 2011 gathering seemed less dramatic, it was partly because of the obscurity of the non-Christian delegates, and partly because the centerpiece of the 1986 action—the public act of prayer—was now missing. At the first Assisi réprise in 2002—when John Paul II, by now frail, again gathered the religious leaders to chase away the dark clouds of 9/11—the delegates prayed in their faith groups in different locations in Assisi, rather than in public. But prayer was still the point. 

This time it was different. Rather than a day of prayer it was a “pilgrimage,” a time of “reflection and dialogue,” with each participant being assigned a room in a retreat house for “a time of silence for reflection and/or personal prayer.” The only public acts were speeches that were short and lacking in content. 

Yet that did not stop a number of deities being invoked. “O infinite-bodied Lord! I see YOU in each hand and feet, in each eye and head, in each name and being,” prayed one Hindu delegate, while the Ifu and Yoruba representative began with an untranslated invocatory chant. Recalling his concern after 1986 to make clear that “there is no such thing . . . as a common concept of God or belief in God,” it must have been difficult for Pope Benedict to hear a swami announce that “truth is one” even though “professed in different ways.” 

The other absentee at this year’s gathering was the Spirit of Assisi. The term was first used by Pope John Paul II when he received the 1986 delegates at an audience in Rome two days after the event. “Let us continue to spread the message of peace,” he told them; “let us continue to live the Spirit of Assisi.” The term, popularized by the Franciscans, has been used by Sant’Egidio at the interfaith gatherings—held “in the Spirit of Assisi”—they have organized every year since then.  It was used by the founder of the Bose monastic movement, Enzo Bianchi, who wrote in La Stampa that the gathering of  October 27 showed that Benedict XVI had “made his own the Spirit of Assisi,” which he described as the church’s “truly universal mission”, one demanding respect for all faiths and the religious path of each person.




And the phrase is the title of an article in the Messenger of St Anthony by the Custodian of the Basilica of St Francis, Giuseppe Piemontese OFM Conv. And it was invoked, on 27 October, in the speech by Patriarch Bartholomew I, who described it as “the capacity of faiths in dialogue to infuse society with peace.”

Yet in the Pope’s addresses in Assisi and in the many documents and speeches in the run-up to the event by curial officials, including a long series of articles in L’Osservatore Romano, the term is carefully avoided. This reflects the view that, like “the Spirit of Vatican II,” it has been tainted by errors—in this case the “syncretistic interpretations” of 1986.  

It wasn’t just Rome’s theological squeamishness that left Assisi III feeling flat but another absence, the spirit of community. Key to the organization of Assisi I and II were both Sant’Egidio and Focolare, movements of young Italians deeply committed to reconciliation across boundaries; it was their relationships which Cardinal Etchegaray drew upon in 1986 and 2002 in extending invitations to religious leaders. But while the movements were present on October 27—Focolare arranged the music and dance at the afternoon ceremony at the Basilica of St Francis; the founder and president of Sant’Egidio were both on the delegates’ train—the organization was this time firmly in the hands of the Curia. It meant that, despite warm embraces at the end, the atmosphere this time, and unlike 1986 and 2002, was mostly that of a conference or summit, rather than what Italians call un incontro.    

This was reinforced by the presence of the “nonbelievers” among the delegates, included for the first time at the Assisi gatherings at the Pope’s request. The four academic humanists had been invited by Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi’s Council for the New Evangelization, whose Courtyard of the Gentiles project aims to build bridges with atheists and secularists in post-Christian Europe.  The speeches by the French-Bulgarian academic Julia Kristeva and by Guillermo Hurtado of Mexico made clear that these were “humanists in dialogue with believers” and therefore much more like searching agnostics than committed secularists. 
And although there were only four of them, they seemed to be accorded a special place. After criticising both the distortion and the denial of God as lying behind modern violence, Pope Benedict’s main address—delivered at the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli below Assisi—suddenly praised agnostics as “pilgrims of truth, pilgrims of peace,” which was the title of the gathering. Agnostics, he said, suffered from God’s absence yet “are inwardly making their way towards him, in as much as they are seeking truth and goodness.” Just as he did recently in Germany, when he described agnostics as “closer to the Kingdom of God than believers whose life of faith is ‘routine,'” Benedict XVI in Assisi suggested that the challenges of agnostics helped to purify the faith of believers. Their inability to find faith, he suggested, “is partly the responsibility of believers with a limited or even falsified image of God,” while the struggling and questioning of agnostics “is in part an appeal to believers to purify their faith, so that God, the true God, becomes accessible.”

It soon became clear that the 25th anniversary of Assisi had been framed to support Pope Benedict’s “New Evangelization” strategy of connecting with post-Christian Europe. It is an ambition that is little by little coming to dominate his papacy, so that almost everything he does links to this goal. Pope Benedict wants to make an alliance with “open” secularists, to stand together against both religious and secularist fundamentalists. 

In terms of the objectives of Assisi I, the inclusion of nonbelievers represents, on the hand, a broadening of the original coalition conceived by Pope John Paul II. It is an alliance of peace that now extends to people of goodwill, whether atheist, theist or polytheist.

But there is a risk that this new frame dilutes Pope John Paul II’s original intuition: that at a time when religion was taking a more public role, both as builder of justice and legitimator of violence, it was necessary to reaffirm the peace at the core of all true religion. That is why, whether it was the joint prayer of 1986 or the timetabled but separately located prayer of 2002, the point of the exercise was an essentially spiritual one—the opening of the heart of the world to the saving and healing power of God, however understood. This time the “witness of prayerful reflection,” suggests Michael Barnes, S.J., in Thinking Faith, “has given way to a more theological debate about the meaning of religion itself,” abandoning powerful symbolism in favour of “yet more routine speechifying.”

Can Assisi now be successfully recast as an alliance of goodwill and mutual interests? Can this new frame capture minds and hearts as did a spiritual humanism of peace?

Judging by the uplifting yet oddly uninspiring experience on October 27, the answer would have to be no; and that may be reflected in the muted media impact it made. It is always easier to say why an event made the news than why it failed to; and the fact that it was a commemoration, rather than a response to a global emergency, may partially account for the indifference. Or maybe the world’s religious leaders gathering for peace is no longer news because religions are no longer considered to be at war. Perhaps the Spirit of Assisi, in all its theological ambiguity, has become a commonplace, and no longer captures the imagination.

But many of those at the heart of the previous Assisi meetings fear that the vision behind them has been eclipsed. The 1986 event was an audacious, prophetic gesture, the intuition of a pope who saw what needed doing and acted. It was never intended to be other than a single event. But it set in train a movement, a distinctively religious contribution to peace in the world, that was never intended to bear too much theological scrutiny, but which people recognized as of God: expressed in symbols, a matter of the heart rather than the head. Twenty-five years later, Pope Benedict has reaffirmed that movement, both in the church and in the world, and set it on a new path. But too much effort to avoid theological ambiguity and subtract the spiritual may well have dampened the flame that has kept it burning all these years.






Assisi III: Pagan Gods Invoked in Catholic Basilica

By John Vennari, November 15, 2011 (Traditionalist)
A pan-religious prayer meeting for peace was held at Assisi on October 27, 2011. I traveled to Assisi to cover the event.
The ceremonies started at St. Mary of the Angels Basilica. Members of various world religions had been invited by Pope Benedict to attend the gathering, which marked the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s first Assisi meeting in 1986.
There are Catholics throughout the world greatly disturbed by these pan-religious gatherings, as these events place the one true Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ on the same level as false creeds, something the Popes of the past, throughout the entirety of Church history, never permitted.
However, since Vatican II and the new ecumenism it fostered, the pan-religious spirit is the trend of the moment, with disastrous consequences. Not only does it foster religious indifferentism — a deadly heresy condemned by Pope Leo XII, Pius VII, Blessed Pius IX, Leo XIII, Pius X, Benedict XV, Pius XI and Pius XII — it also opens the door for false gods to be invoked inside Catholic churches, as was the case at the latest Assisi assembly in October.
The day consisted of a morning ceremony held inside the Church of Saint Mary of the Angels, and an afternoon ceremony held in the courtyards immediately outside the basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi.
The group consisted of the Pope, virtually all the Cardinals of the Roman Curia, representatives from the Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans, and various Protestants. The delegates from the various world religions numbered around 300. Yet the vast majority of religions represented were not even Christian by any name, but were: Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Sikhism, Baha’ism, Confucianism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, Shintoism, Mandaeism, and “Traditional Religions” such as those found in Africa, America and India.
At the morning event at Saint Mary of the Angels, various speakers from the different world religions addressed the group with what were called “Testimonies of Peace”. This was done on a special platform erected in the sanctuary inside Saint Mary of the Angels.
Speakers included Dr. Olav Fyske, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, and Rabbi David Rosen, International Director of Interreligious Affairs of the American Jewish Committee. An Armenian Orthodox Metropolitan, a Buddhist, and a Muslim each took a turn giving their “Peace” testimony — a tedious procedure that seemed to go on much longer than it actually did. An agnostic named Professor Julia Kresteva from France was also invited. From the podium inside the Church, she sang the praises of humanism — including feminism — and called for believers and non-believers to “listen and learn.”
The crowning scandal of the morning came from the invocation of false gods inside the church.
Nigeria’s Professor Wande Abimbola, representative of the African Yoruba religion, took to the pulpit. As even the Associated Press reported, Abimbola “sang a prayer and shook a percussion instrument as he told the delegates that peace can only come with greater respect for indigenous religions. ‘We must always remember that our own religion, along with the religions practiced by other people, are valid and precious in the eyes of the Almighty, who created all of us with such plural and different ways of life and belief systems,’ he said.”
Abimola claimed that all the religions represented at Assisi “are valid and precious in the eyes of the Almighty, who created all of us with such plural and different ways of life and belief systems”. The hymn he chanted was in honor of the god Ifa and his wife Olukum.
It must be noted that this Yoruba invocation did not come as a surprise. It was not something sprung on the Pope and the delegates without warning. Abimbola’s entire speech and prayer were already printed in the full color “Assisi 2011” booklet that was part of the official press kit handed out to journalists prior to the event (I got my booklet on October 26). All participants at the event on stage and in the audience likewise had the book that contained Abimola’s pagan invocation, and his encouragement to religious indifferentism.
Abimbola was not the only one to invoke strange gods while standing in the sanctuary of the basilica.
Hindu Acharya Shri Shrivatsa Goswami, from the Radhararamana Temple in India, likewise followed suit, opening his “Testimony of Peace” with a prayer to one of Hinduism’s false gods: “O infinite bodied Lord! I see YOU in each hand and feet, in each eye and head, in each name and being. I bow down to YOU in all of them.” He also trumpeted religious indifferentism stating, “The truth is one”, but “announced in different ways.”
This too was contained in the official Assisi 2011 booklet issued to all members of the press and delegates. The Hindu closed with an ad lib not included in the booklet, however, when he uttered the pantheistic prayer, “I bow and revere god in each of you.”
Thus false gods were invoked in Saint Mary of the Angels church, a grave sin against the First Commandment carried out as part of the Assisi III celebration.
“All the invocations of the pagans are hateful to God because all their gods are devils.” Saint Francis Xavier wrote these words to Saint Ignatius about the pagan religion of Hinduism. Francis Xavier, writing from India at the time, merely restates the truth from the infallible Sacred Scriptures: “The gods of the gentiles are devils”. (Psalm 95:5) This immutable truth was trampled underfoot at the latest Assisi gathering.
More will be written about this Assisi event in a future issue of the Fatima Crusader. We will close now with the observation that the new pan-religious “Spirit of Assisi”, as it has come to be called, is a counterfeit peace plan that eclipses the true peace plan of Our Lady of Fatima.


Peace will not come from desecrating Catholic churches, using the Catholic sanctuary as a platform for members of pagan religions to invoke their false gods. On the contrary, such activity will only result in punishment.
And if war is a punishment for sin, as Our Lady of Fatima told us, then we can only expect disaster from these so-called “peace” initiatives that not only flout the Peace Plan given by Our Lady of Fatima, but defy the unchangeable doctrine of the Church for centuries, and defy the First Commandment itself.
Let us renew our commitment to “pray a great deal for the Holy Father” as the Fatima Message instructs us, so that he and all of the leaders of the Curia may abandon this counterfeit peace plan that only brings scandal and destruction. We continue to work and pray that the Holy Father, in union with the world’s Catholic bishops, consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as She requested, which is the only means by which Heaven promised to bring true peace to the world.
Let us also offer extra prayers of reparation for what can only be described as the desecration of the Church of Saint Mary of the Angels by the invocation of false gods by pagan leaders chanted inside the church’s sanctuary.

In 1918, the great Cardinal Mercier of Belgium stated that the First World War was a punishment for the crime of men placing the one true Catholic religion on the same level with false creeds. Cardinal Mercier said, “In the name of the Gospel, and in the light of the Encyclicals of the last four Popes, Gregory XVI, Pius IX, Leo XIII, and Pius X, I do not hesitate to affirm that this indifference to religions which puts on the same level the religion of divine origin and the religions invented by men in order to include them in the same scepticism is the blasphemy which calls down chastisement on society far more than the sins of individuals and families.”

Unfortunately, today’s practice of ecumenism, and the “spirit of Assisi”, places the true Catholic religion on the same level as “religions invented by men.” According to Cardinal Mercier, this is blasphemy which will incur Divine Chastisement.


The Spirit of Assisi: The Story So Far


After Pope John Paul’s historic gathering of leaders of world religions in Assisi in 1986, other events over the years developed and deepened the Spirit of Assisi.

On October 27, 1986, John Paul II realized a great dream: he invited representatives of world religions to Assisi so that a single song of peace might be sent to the one God from many hearts and in many languages. This invitation was accepted by 70 representatives of major religions. They offered hope for a different world: renewed, profoundly fraternal, and truly human. The event itself carried an important message: that the desire for peace is shared by all people of good will; but taking into account the situation of the world and the relationship between peoples, real peace can only be achieved through an intervention by God. The meeting was one of prayer. The prayer arose in the spiritual context of each of the religions that was present. It invited the participants to touch their own interiority in freedom, carrying the prayer of all humanity and raising it up to God. They recognized that human beings on their own are not able to achieve the peace that they are seeking. It seems that the climate of universal fraternity found in the city of St. Francis filled people from the most diverse of origins.

This experience came to be called the Spirit of Assisi, and in the 1987 message for the World Day of Peace it was also called the “Logic of Assisi.” During the first meeting, in front of the chapel of the Portiuncula, John Paul II said that he chose the “city of Assisi as location for this day of prayer due to the special significance of the saint venerated here, St. Francis, who is known by many all over the planet to be a symbol of peace, reconciliation, and brotherhood.” So the Pope decided to promote this initiative in the name of St. Francis, the man who breaks down barriers, who knows how to open doors and who is brother to all.

The community of Sant’Egidio, involved in the initiative from its beginning, has organized similar meetings every year since in European and Mediterranean cities. In January 1993 the event came back to Assisi during the time of the Balkan war. John Paul II, facing extreme violence and the incapacity of the countries of ex-Yugoslavia to make peace, affirmed that “only in mutual acceptance of the other and in the consequent mutual respect, deepened by love, lies the secret to a finally reconciled humanity.”

As plans for the celebration of 2002 got underway, the Pope once again invited religious leaders to come to Assisi. The invitations went out as the twin towers were still burning and bombs were going off in Kabul. The situation highlighted for the world the destructive forces of hate and terrorism which can explode in any corner of the world. The Pope asked world religions to turn themselves into instruments of peace because hate and violence generate nothing except more hate and violence.

On the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the Spirit of Assisi in 2006, Benedict XVI underlined the timeliness of the initiative saying that though the world has changed there is still a great need to search for ways to build peace, noting that “…the third millennium opened with scenes of terrorism and violence that show no sign of abating.” Though it sometimes seems that religions fuel conflicts rather than work to resolve them, the Pope affirms: “When the religious sense reaches maturity, it gives rise to a perception in the believer that faith in God, Creator of the universe and Father of all, must encourage relations of universal brotherhood among human beings. In fact, attestations of the close bond that exists between the relationship with God and the ethics of love are recorded in all great religious traditions.”




In 2011 we will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the first gathering of the Spirit of Assisi. It will be held at the original sites in the city of Assisi. A message of peace is needed as much today as it was 25 years ago, along with a concrete commitment to build peace in our world. As Benedict XVI stated five years ago, the world has changed since the first celebration. Religions are not only asked to dialogue among themselves, but to reach out to all people whether they are believers or not. Even more, they are now being challenged to reach out beyond humanity, because violence is being visited on God’s creation as well.

There is an ever-growing consciousness in all religious traditions that respect and peaceful relations must be fostered between people and between people and all creatures as well. It was only because of his strong relationship with the Father that St. Francis was able to see all people and creatures as his sisters and brothers. The very spirit of the expression Spirit of Assisi will help us to become actively involved in promoting peace among human beings and beyond. If we come together in the Spirit of Assisi and pray as believers in the way our respective religious traditions have taught us, we will be strengthened to commit ourselves to concrete actions that will allow us to work together to confront the threats to peace and to the environment that we face in our world today.

John Vennari, August 2012 (Traditionalist)

Pope Benedict XVI continues to praise “Spirit of Assisi”:

Pope Sends Greeting to Japan Interreligious Event, August 3, 2012… … … … … …

How I miss Archbishop Lefebvre who in 1986 said publicly, clearly and correctly of the Assisi meeting: “He who now sits upon the Throne of Peter mocks publicly the first article of the Creed and the first Commandment of the Decalogue. The scandal given to Catholic souls cannot be measured. The Church is shaken to its very foundation.” – John Vennari


Ecumenical prayer in memory of the historic meeting held on 27 October 1986

By Maria Teresa Pontara Pederiva,
October 27, 2013

“No more violence! No more war! No more terrorism! May every religion bring Justice, Peace, Forgiveness, Life and Love to Earth, in the name of God!” 

This was the appeal three religious leaders sent out late this morning from the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi in Assisi, in memory of the Spirit of Assisi which marked the historical ecumenical meeting of 27 October 1986. John Paul II organised the meeting with representatives of the major world religions. But the Spirit of Assisi lives on. The meeting was held during Benedict XVI’s pontificate and this year it takes the form of a prayer to renew the commitment of religions towards achieving peace in the Middle East. The event is much more than an annual commemoration marked by specific gestures that contribute concretely to achieving peace in the world. What is happening in the Middle East today leads us to reflect on channels for dialogue.

The 2013 meeting brings together a representative of the Jewish faith, David Rosen, International Director of Interreligious Affairs of ATC, the Secretary General of the Christian-Muslim Committee for Dialogue Mohamed Sammak, a Muslim and the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal. The three were greeted in the square in front of the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, by Domenico Sorrentino, Bishop of Assisi, Nocera Umbra and Gualdo Tadino and the General Ministers of three Franciscan families. The Ministers offered the religious representatives olive branches before going to the Tomb of St. Francis.

“We are committed to promoting a culture of dialogue, to help mutual trust and understanding grow between individuals and peoples, these being the premises for genuine peace,” David Rosen said.

“We commit to a sincere and patient dialogue, without seeing the things that make us different as insurmountable obstacles but recognising that comparing each other’s differences can bring us towards greater reciprocal understanding,” Mohamed Sammak said. “Having gathered here in Assisi together, we have reflected on peace, a God-given gift which is shared by all humanity. Despite belonging to different religious traditions we agree that to build peace you must love your neighbour and respect the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. With this conviction we will not tire of working in the great construction site of peace.”

The night before the meeting at San Ruffino Cathedral, the diocesan Christian community held a prayer vigil and a “concert” for peace, with a musical ensemble by Commedia Harmonica, Cantori di Assisi and the Musical Chapel of the Basilica of St. Francis.


From the Q and A Faith and Spirituality blog of Bro. Ignatius Mary

1. Abuses

February 15, 2005

Dear Brother,

I saw that stupid website NovusOrdo Watch which you referred to on your blog. It seems he’s a sedevacantist of some sort as he says JPII is not a Catholic.

But what bothers me is this. In many places he complains legitimately about the abuses in the Church, even at the highest level. He is not simply setting himself as a magisterium of one, as you implied in your blog.




Many of the abuses he describes are very worrying indeed. What can be said about this? What can be said in defense of Assisi, for example? I for one would never let a Hindu practise their idolatry in my house, yet this is what the Pope did. What about the bishop of Jerusalem who openly said the Church has no intention of converting the Jews? How could the Pope appoint this man?

I saw your original answer which prompted the “NovusOrdo Watch” attack, but am not at all satisfied. It seems pretty clear to me, a lifelong Catholic, that the abuses are getting more and more frequent, and at higher and higher levels of the church. When will it all end? Benedict


Dear Benedict:

To begin with because this person “perceives” an abuse does not make it an abuse. This ultra-traditionalist commit several mistakes in thinking:

they confuse form for substance (such as proclaiming the current Mass invalid because the Eucharistic prayer uses the term “cup” instead of “chalice.” dah, it is the same thing).

they commit rash judgment toward any action taken by the Pope or other officials that even smacks as problematic in their eyes (such the “Assisi” non-incident).

they routinely misinterpret statements from the Pope, the Curia, and bishops always presuming the worse possible interpretation.

they proclaim as official Church proclamations statements from bishops, Vatican employees, or others that are not official at all, but merely personal opinion on the part of the person when it serves their agenda.

they become self-appointed Popes inventing their own definitions of what is and what is not orthodox.

The list could go on, but this will do.

While the Ultra-Traditionalist does not have his elevator going all the way to the top, and his ability to think is even more impaired, this does not mean that every word out of their mouths is wrong. Some of their observations and criticisms can trip over the truth once-in-a-while. But be careful. Their ability to interpret events and documents accurately is severely impaired. One cannot trust that anything coming from them is 100% accurate. One always needs to check with orthodox sources to be sure.

Better yet, stop listening to people who dissent from the Church and who cause division. According to St. Paul we may be sinning even to listen to them, he certainly says, several times, to ignore such people.

Remember: BE NOT AFRAID! The gates of hell shall never prevail against the Church. Bishops and even Popes can be corrupt, but the Church will survive them. Also we need to stop the sin of rash judgment (or otherwise called, “backseat driving” the Pope).

As for our current Pope — John Paul II — he is a living saint, a very holy man and one of the greatest Popes the Church has ever had. Anyone who attacks Pope John Paul II is either an idiot or insane.

When will it end? Men will always be men. It will end at the Second Coming of Christ when all will be judged and this earth will be no more. Bro. Ignatius Mary


2. Problems with the Novus Ordo, ecumenism; leaning toward the SSPX

August 23, 2005

I am person that has recently started going to an Indult Mass after a lifetime of Novus Ordo, and frankly am leaning towards the line of thought of the SSPX. Everyone seems to have really negative things to say about them, but I am coming to the conclusion that they are right. There really is something wrong with the New Mass, and Ecumenism.

I do not want to question the Holy Father, but I simply cannot understand how it can possibly be ok to have a Church desecrated like in Assisi*, or how it is possible that the Vicar of Christ* would kiss the Koran – which repudiates the Trinity and our Saviour, but yet the Tridentine Mass is not accessible. We can have every single type of Mass under the sun –clowns, ethnic, women taking over priestly roles — but no Tridentine Mass. On the other hand our Lord told St. Peter the gates of hell would not prevail, so I don’t know whether I am being brainwashed or if I truly have a point in starting to have these thoughts. –Mark

*The “spirit of Assisi” **Pope John Paul II


Your question seems to be “am I being brainwashed”.  I can’t really answer that but I can address your specific concerns.  If the Holy Father did kiss the Koran, you can be assured that it was NOT because he rejects the truth of the Trinity and Jesus Christ, and NOT because he endorses any other errors.  Any respect he would have shown would have been respect only for the truths that are contained within the book.

As for ethnic “problems” I’m afraid you must realize that Christianity is MUCH larger than the American Catholic Church.  Yes there are ethnic differences in the Liturgy and there pretty much always were once the Church began to spread. The SPPX people really can’t or shouldn’t believe that the Tridentine Mass is the only rite that should be celebrated, in Latin, with all the Latin traditions and customs, worldwide. It certainly never has been before.

For women taking over priestly roles: the more serious of these incidents really are abuses and are not endorsed or authorized by the Church or the Holy Father.





The Tridentine Mass: Well the Tridentine Mass is not widely available because the rites were revised by order of the Second Vatican Council. The Tridentine Mass no longer is the “principal” rite in which the Mass is celebrated, that is simply why it isn’t widely available. The Church saw a need for a change.  The problem seems to be that many liberal thinkers have misinterpreted the new instructions and felt they had the authority to make other changes that the church officially never authorized (such as the virtual abandonment of Latin)

By the way, when the new Mass is celebrated properly and reverently, and in Latin, it can resemble the old Mass and is very beautiful. In my opinion THIS Mass is what needs to be made widely available.

I understand how cheated a lot of younger Catholics feel once they discover much of the beauty of the Church that seems to have been discarded before they were born. I am one of these Catholics. However I really can’t see how straying from the Church and the Holy Father is the answer to the problem. It is my hope that you will be able to find an indult Tridentine Mass celebrated with permission from the bishop in a community in union with the Holy Father. –Jacob Slavek


3. Question

September 8, 2005

The Pope did, in fact, kiss the Koran. He, also, kissed the ground when he came to the United States, should we infer by that that he was endorsing the Roe vs. Wade decision?
One also has to remember that today when the Missal of Pius V is offered by SSPX or Society of St. Peter or Society of Christ King and High Priest is being offered by priests who love the rite and who take care that it is being done properly.
Don’t assume that in pre-conciliar days all priests did so or that there were no abuses of the liturgy in the “good old days” but the “private” nature of these liturgies and the attention of the faithful on either their Missals or rosaries made them less noticeable.
For example, things that I have heard from those who were there:
A few priests would allow their dogs to accompany them into the sanctuary.
One priest would dry his hands at the lavabo on the server’s surplice as a joke.
One priest in order to charge for a solemn high Requiem Mass that required a deacon and subdeacon trained the altar boys where these ministers would stand if they were there and they would move mannequins wearing vestments into position
In one parish at the beginning of Midnight Mass the statute of the infant would fly from the choir loft over the heads of the congregation on piano wire into the manger. –Fr. Smith


Dear Father, Thanks for the comments. –Jacob Slavek


4. Can Eastern Orthodox Christians receive communion during Mass?

April 17, 2007

Did you know that Pope John Paul II prayed with animists (in 1985)? Kissed Qurans (yes, he actually did that in 1999)? Kissed the “Archbishop” of Canterbury’s RING (2003)? Prayed with non-Christian Jews, who deny their own SAVIOR, Lord Jesus (1986)? Who gathered heathen, heretical, and schismatic religions, and had them all pray in Assisi TWICE (1986 and 2002)? –Tim


This part of the question was not answered by the blog owners. -Michael


5. Confusing actions

April 12, 2010

When talking to some people, they always bring up the Holy Father (PJP II) kissing the Qur’an. I know Paul teaches us that he did things for the sake of OTHERS consciences, but why did the Holy Father kiss it? I understand the notion of bringing peace to the world, but is kissing the Qur’an not obviously fueling Protestants as well as other religions from removing themselves further from the church? My question is, did he really have to KISS the Qur’an? I trust in the Church for everything, do you think this was proper? Or do you think that this is similar to Fr. Gabriel Amorth’s recent statement about the smoke of Satan which could possibly confuse many people?

My second question is regarding the world day of prayer hosted by PJP II with all the faiths fasting and praying for peace. He invited Hindu, Sikhs and many other pagan religions to fast to their gods. This is definitely very confusing to me. I have no knowledge of the Church as the Holy Father does, but I cannot seem to understand how this can be a good thing and not confusing to the faithful? How can the late Holy Father condone praying and fasting to pagan gods?

My questions are in no way to bash the Church, I am just confused by these things. Benjamin


Dear Benjamin:

This is an old issue. The first thing we must do if we see our Pope do something we do not understand is to presume it is our understanding that is problematic, and not the Pope’s actions. This idea is similar to the principle of Justice in the United States — innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.



The Catholic Church teaches that truth can be found in many places, and wherever that truth is found, no matter how small it is, we can reach out our hand in fellowship. While Islam has many false ideas and theology, it also has many elements of truth.

The Pope, on a mission of extending a hand of fellowship to all peoples, which Christ Himself said we are do, kissed the Qur’an as an act of respect to those elements of truth contained in it, and in respect to the Islamic people and the the plight they have suffered in many quarters.

“Kissing” is most likely a cultural gesture. In the United States we would accept the gift of the Qu’ran and shake hands to offer that respect. That is all there is to it.

The Pope’s action did not mean that he thought the Qur’an was on equal standing with the Bible, or that all religions are equal. All those accusations were made mostly by Ultra-Traditionalists, who have, in my opinion, the mental disease of scrupulosity (the religious form of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder). It is they, not the Pope, causing scandal (confusing the Faithful).

As for the Assisi ecumenical prayer meetings, I find even less understanding why people are so up-in-arms; but then the scrupulous have to limits to their taking offense. What is possibly wrong with inviting peoples from all religions to come together in a spirit of peace to pray for peace? If there is something wrong with this, maybe that is why there is no peace in the world.

All the religions invited to this central place to hold a prayer-for-peace event each prayed on their own little corner according to their consciences. There was no single prayer service in which any Christian was actively or passively required to pray to a false god.

It was a religious peace meeting. Nothing more. Jesus said that we are to appeal to peace in the world — “Blessed are the peacemakers.” To appeal for peace means talking with those who are not “one of us.”

We should not be held captive by the tyranny of the perpetually offended.

An extensive discussion of all this has been written and compiled by Dave Armstrong on his Biblical Evidence for Catholicism website. Bro. Ignatius Mary








Just as I was to upload this file on my web site, there came a flood of emails (all emphases his) from my ubiquitous stalker, the anonymous Mr. Prakash Lasrado, as usual copy to around 60 Cardinals and Bishops.

1. Subject: Michael Prabhu is an anti-Catholic and a wolf in sheep’s clothing Date: Thu, 9 Apr 2015 21:46:45 +0530

Michael Prabhu,

Here is a quote from your blog 

The Pope in 2002 was John Paul II. Remember the infamous “Spirit of Assisi” of Pope John Paul II that Cardinal Ratzinger boycotted in 1986? It is not in the least surprising that the Pope appreciated this “13 religions” initiative of Paul McKenna which include those who deny the Trinity and the divine nature of Jesus (Unitarians), and those who deny that Jesus is the Son of God, 1 John 2:21-23 (Muslims):

My opinion

Beware of Michael Prabhu, a wolf in sheep’s clothing who pretends to be loyal to the Catholic Church while actually trying to destroy it. 

Michael Prabhu has called the Spirit of Assisi of Pope John Paul II infamous. Prakash


2. Subject: Re: Michael Prabhu is an anti-Catholic and a wolf in sheep’s clothing Date: Thu, 9 Apr 2015 21:54:47 +0530

If as per Michael Prabhu, Pope John Paul II appreciated Paul McKenna of Scarboro Missions in the field of interfaith dialogue, why is Michael Prabhu condemning the good work done by them?

The very fact that Michael does not respond directly to my email challenges with cc to all shows his devious nature. 

Michael knows he cannot win an intellectual battle against me and hence resorts to backstabbing.

Do not trust Michael. He truncates emails of opponents and tells half-truths. Prakash


3. Subject: Re: Michael Prabhu is an anti-Catholic and a wolf in sheep’s clothing Date: Thu, 9 Apr 2015 22:07:17 +0530

Does the ignoramus Michael Prabhu know that Pope Benedict organized an interfaith meeting in Assisi in 2011 in commemoration of Pope John Paul II’s 1986 interfaith meeting? Prakash



4. Subject: Re: Michael Prabhu is an anti-Catholic and a wolf in sheep’s clothing Date: Thu, 9 Apr 2015 22:53:26 +0530

Michael Prabhu gloats over his brilliance because of his textile engineering degree from a supposed premier engineering college in Madras below

My opinion

Textile engineering is one of the least preferred branches of engineering and the dullest among the lot go for textile engineering.

Bright students go for computer, electronics engineering and go to premier institutes like IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) after passing a tough entrance exam. 

Is Michael Prabhu an alumni from IIT Madras or from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA?

Despite his lacklustre academic credentials, he thinks he is superior to others and treats others as fools. 

I do not gloat over my lacklustre academic credentials unlike Michael Prabhu. Prakash


5. Subject: Re: Michael Prabhu is an anti-Catholic and a wolf in sheep’s clothing Date: Thu, 9 Apr 2015 22:56:14 +0530

Is Michael Prabhu an alumnus of IIT Madras or MIT, USA? (Emphasis his)


My response:

I leave it to the reader to assess the mental stability of Lasrado who spends over 1 hour studying 4 pages of a web site report of mine (I do not own or manage a blog), writing 5 email letters a few minutes apart from one another, to a list of 60 people who have never replied except maybe 3 of them in 3 years.

What does my being “an anti-Catholic and a wolf in sheep’s clothing” (the subject of his emails) have to do with an academic qualification that I took in 1971? I’ll try to figure that out… But the reader will meanwhile have arrived at the reason as to why I am constrained to truncate many of his emails when reproducing them.

Below is the CNS article against the link that Lasrado sent in his email no. 3.


Back to Assisi: Pope Benedict to commemorate event he skipped

By Cindy Wooden, Vatican City, January 7, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI said he would go to Assisi in October to mark the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s interreligious prayer for peace, but he did not actually say anything about praying with members of other religions*.
Announcing the October gathering, he said he would go to Assisi on pilgrimage and would like representatives of other Christian confessions and other world religions to join him there to commemorate Pope John Paul’s “historic gesture” and to “solemnly renew the commitment of believers of every religion to live their own religious faith as a service in the cause of peace.”
While Pope Benedict may be more open to interreligious dialogue than some of the most conservative Christians would like, he continues to insist that dialogue must be honest about the differences existing between religions and that joint activities should acknowledge those differences.
In the 2003 book, “Truth and Tolerance,” a collection of speeches and essays on Christianity and world religions, the then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger dedicated four pages to the topic of “multireligious and interreligious prayer.”
As a cardinal and prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he was one of the very few top Vatican officials to skip Pope John Paul’s 1986 meeting in Assisi. He later said the way the event was organized left too much open to misinterpretation.
His chief concern was that the gathering could give people the impression that the highest officials in the Catholic Church were saying that all religions believed in the same God and that every religion was an equally valid path to God.
A few years later — and after having participated in Pope John Paul’s 2002 interreligious meeting in Assisi — he wrote in “Truth and Tolerance” that with such gatherings “there are undeniable dangers and it is indisputable that the Assisi meetings, especially in 1986, were misinterpreted by many people.”
He wrote that church leaders had to take seriously the possibility that many people would see Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus and others gathered together for prayer in the Umbrian hilltown and get the “false impression of common ground that does not exist in reality.” At the same time, he said, it would be “wrong to reject completely and unconditionally” what he insisted was really a “multireligious prayer,” one in which members of different religions prayed at the same time for the same intention without praying together. In multireligious prayer, he wrote, the participants recognize that their understandings of the divine are so different “that shared prayer would be a fiction,” but they gather in the same place to show the world that their longing for peace is the same.
U.S. Jesuit Father Thomas Michel, who was an official at the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue in the 1980s and was involved in organizing the first Assisi meeting, said, “It wouldn’t make a lot of sense to pray together when you don’t believe in the same God,” but Catholics believe there is only one God and he hears the prayers of whoever turns to him with sincerity and devotion.
In an e-mail response to questions, Father Michel said, “The only confusion (surrounding the 1986 Assisi meeting) was among those who did not understand Vatican II teaching and subsequent magisterium. They expressed their confusion before the event, boycotted the event itself, and expressed more confusion afterwards.”



“Nostra Aetate,” the Second Vatican Council document on relations with other religions, affirmed that Jews, Christians and Muslims believe in, worship and pray to the same God.
When Pope Benedict went to Istanbul’s Blue Mosque in Turkey in 2006, some people believed he blatantly contradicted what he had written in 2003 about the impossibility of praying together.
At the mosque, a place of prayer for Muslims, the pope stood alongside an imam in silent prayer.
Days later back at the Vatican, the pope said it was “a gesture initially unforeseen,” but one which turned out to be “truly significant.” “Stopping for some minutes for reflection in that place of prayer, I turned to the one God of heaven and of earth, the merciful father of all humanity,” the pope said.
Muslims were touched by the pope’s gesture, but some Christians went to great lengths to insist that the pope’s “turning to God” was not the same thing as prayer, especially in a mosque.
People found it easier to accept the fact that Pope Benedict stopped for prayer in Jerusalem at the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site.
After visiting Jerusalem, Pope Benedict told visitors at the Vatican that faith demands love of God and love of neighbor; “it is to this that Jews, Christians and Muslims are called to bear witness in order to honor with acts that God to whom they pray with their lips. And it is exactly this that I carried in my heart, in my prayers, as I visited in Jerusalem the Western or Wailing Wall and the Dome of the Rock, symbolic places respectively of Judaism and of Islam.”
In a message commemorating the 20th anniversary of Pope John Paul’s Assisi meeting, Pope Benedict said the 1986 gathering effectively demonstrated to the world that “prayer does not divide, but unites” and is a key part of promoting peace based on friendship, acceptance and dialogue between people of different cultures and religions.

*Eventually, Pope Benedict didn’t, thus distancing himself from Pope John Paul II’s actions.


In the ultimate analysis, “The Spirit of Assisi” of Pope John Paul II generated more confusion and division among Catholics than any good that it might have achieved.

Categories: Hinduisation of the Catholic Church in India, Liturgical Abuses

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EPHESIANS-511.NET- A Roman Catholic Ministry Exposing Errors in the Indian Church Michael Prabhu, METAMORPHOSE, #12,Dawn Apartments, 22,Leith Castle South Street, Chennai – 600 028, Tamilnadu, India. Phone: +91 (44) 24611606 E-mail:,

EPHESIANS-511.NET- A Roman Catholic Ministry Exposing Errors in the Indian Church

Michael Prabhu, METAMORPHOSE, #12,Dawn Apartments, 22,Leith Castle South Street, Chennai - 600 028, Tamilnadu, India. Phone: +91 (44) 24611606 E-mail:,

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